en SQM Agrees $30 Million Fine for Fake Invoice Chilean chemicals and mining group SQM has agreed to pay fines amounting to more than $30 million to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in connection with fake invoices. SQM said the DoJ would defer charges relating to internal accounting failures, scrapping them after three years, if it agreed to pay nearly $15.5 million and be monitored for two years. The Chilean firm will also pay the SEC a penalty of $15 million, also relating to accounting violations. Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:34:00 +0000 Reliance and Sibur Establish Indian Rubber JV India’s Reliance Industries and Russia’s Sibur have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build the first halogenated butyl rubber plant in south Asia. Signed last week at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Gandhinagar, India, the MoU will see Reliance Industries take 74.9% and Sibur 25.1% of the newly formed company, Reliance Sibur Elastomers. Fri, 20 Jan 2017 11:28:00 +0000 Hydrogen Council Launched at World Economic Forum Among the “firsts” launched at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, were – unusually – two projects in which the global chemicals-related industry got its day in the sun. Fri, 20 Jan 2017 05:51:00 +0000 Merck Opens Excipients Plant in Spain German pharmaceuticals, chemicals and life sciences company Merck KGaA has opened a new plant in Mollet des Vallès, Spain dedicated solely to the manufacture of meglumine, an FDA-approved excipient for pharmaceuticals and a component of medical imaging contrast media. Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:17:00 +0000 Azelis Americas Buys Ross Organic Azelis Americas has acquired Ross Organic, a specialty chemicals distributor located in Santa Fe, California, USA. Financial details were not disclosed. The move, said Azelis Americas, strengthens its presence in the specialty growth markets in the western US. Ross Organic sells into the personal care and home care/industrial cleaning markets. Thu, 19 Jan 2017 13:59:00 +0000 WeylChem Appoints Gerhard Köppikus as New Sales Director Consumer Care Gerhard Köppikus joined WeylChem on Nov. 1, 2016 as sales director consumer care. Vincent Bossert, who previously occupied this role, will leave the company in April 2017. In his new position, Köppikus will lead the commercial team located in Wiesbaden, Germany. "Gerhard adds substantial experience in the Consumer Care industry to our team," said Andreas Maier, head of the business unit consumer care. "His combination of knowledge and sales management skills will serve him well as he takes on this new responsibility.” Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:55:00 +0000 Huntsman Retains Textiles, Names TiO2 Spin-Off US chemical producer Huntsman has reconsidered and decided to exclude the textile effects business from the proposed spin-off of its titanium dioxide (TiO2) division. Last August, CEO Peter Huntsman said the group was planning to add textile effects to the package as the business’s earnings were more stable than those for the pigment and would provide a buffer when TiO2 was in a trough. Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:51:00 +0000 Senate Hearing Grills Designated EPA Head Just as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been battening down the hatches and tying up regulatory loose ends before the administration of President-Elect Donald Trump takes over on Jan. 20, its probable future administrator, Scott Pruitt, has given a preview of what his priorities will be. Observers commented that they were the same priorities he has had in the past. Thu, 19 Jan 2017 05:43:00 +0000 Givaudan Acquires Activ International As part of an ongoing strategy to expand its product portfolio and invest in high-growth markets, Swiss flavors and fragrances company Givaudan has added local firm Activ International to the group. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:58:00 +0000 CEFIC Urges EP to Approve CETA Joining other industry associations in the Alliance for a Competitive European Industry (ACEI). the European Chemical Industry Council, CEFIC, has urged the European Parliament to endorse the proposed trade deal with Canada at next month’s plenary session. Wed, 18 Jan 2017 12:47:00 +0000 ADNOC to Restart Fire-Hit Ruwais Refinery Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said on Jan. 17 it hoped to restart its fire-impacted Takreer refinery at Ruwais, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates before the end of this week. According to reports, the blaze that broke out on Jan. 11 forced the shutdown of about half the facility, which has capacity estimated at 800,000--1 million bbl/d of crude oil. Wed, 18 Jan 2017 06:43:00 +0000 Bayer Promises Trump $8 Billion for US Research? A second chemical-pharmaceuticals company may have won points toward US approval of its mega-merger plans by making promises of research spending and job creation to President-elect Donald Trump. Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:27:00 +0000 RPM Buys Three US Companies US-based RPM International has kicked off 2017 with a buying spree. The Medina, Ohio-headquartered firm has acquired three businesses in the early days of January, the first of which was Clayton Corporation’s foam division. Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:56:00 +0000 EPA to Evaluate Chemicals for Risk For the first time in 40 years, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to evaluate existing chemicals sold on the US market that may pose risks to human health or the environment. The agency is working toward a Jun. 22, 2017 deadline for developing a process to comply with new rules of the new Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act last year’s revision of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA). Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:31:00 +0000 Ariad Shareholders Sue Over Takeda Deal On behalf of shareholders of Ariad Pharmaceuticals who claim their interests were not fairly represented in the sale of the company to Japanese drugmaker Takeda for $5.2 billion, at least two US law firms plan to pursue class action suits. Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:27:00 +0000 Breathing New Life into Spectroscopy Gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) instruments are useless without reference spectra databases. Without reliable reference spectra to search against, the identity of compounds can only be guessed. This is why GC-MS instruments are purchased from manufacturers with reference spectra databases pre-installed. Wiley Registry of Mass Spectral Data and the NIST Mass Spectral Library are regarded as “must-have” databases and are most commonly found on newly manufactured instruments. Tue, 17 Jan 2017 08:05:00 +0000 Kemira Hikes China Sizing Agents Capacity Finland’s Kemira is investing a multi-million euro sum to expand capacity for its alkyl succinic anhydride (ASA) sizing agents in Nanjing, China. The additional production is expected to be available from December 2017 onwards. Tue, 17 Jan 2017 05:21:00 +0000 Toray and Mitsui in Thai Cellulosic Sugar Project Japanese companies Toray Industries and Mitsui Sugar are forming a joint venture to demonstrate the technological feasibility of manufacturing cellulosic sugar from the surplus bagasse generated at sugar mills. Bagasse is the solid material that remains after squeezing the sugarcane and is burnt in boilers at the sugar plants to recover energy as electricity. Mon, 16 Jan 2017 15:09:00 +0000 Silence Buys Into Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals UK-based Silence Therapeutics has acquired an 8.4% equity stake in US biotech group Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to potentially advance progress in novel RNA therapeutics. Silence paid about $9.6 million for the common share capital of Arrowhead, which develops medicines to treat intractable diseases by silencing the genes that cause them through a broad portfolio of RNA chemistries. Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:02:00 +0000 Grangemouth Firms Fined for Pollution Scotland’s environmental protection agency, SEPA, has issued fines to 383 industrial companies or sites – including Ineos, BP and Syngenta at Grangemouth – for their “poor” or “very poor” performance on pollution or safety. Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:57:00 +0000 Valeant $2 Billion Assets Sale Will Pare Debt Canadian-headquartered, US-managed drugmaker Valeant said it will sell around $2 billion worth of assets as it sets about paring down its staggering debt burden of around $30 billion. Among other things, the asset sale calls for divestment of three skincare brands to French cosmetic giant L'Oréal for $1.3 billion. The three product lines, CeraVe, AcneFree and AMBI, account for about $168 million in annual revenue. Mon, 16 Jan 2017 05:51:00 +0000 GTM Takes QuantiQ From Braskem Major Latin American chemical distributor GTM Holdings, majority owned by private equity firm Advent International, has agreed to buy Brazilian rival quantiQ from Braskem, creating the largest, independent chemical distribution platform in the region. Fri, 13 Jan 2017 14:47:00 +0000 Arkema Upgrading US Acrylic Acid Units French specialty chemicals producer Arkema is spending $90 million on upgrading technology at its Clear Lake, Texas site acrylic acid production units. When the two production units of 45,000 t/y each are merged into one larger 90,000 t/y reactor equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the Texas site will be “among the most competitive in North America while meeting growing demand in the region,” the company said. Fri, 13 Jan 2017 10:33:00 +0000 Pharma Stocks Crash on Trump Pricing Hints American drugmakers, who had hoped US President-Elect Donald Trump would go easier on the industry than Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had promised to do, received an unexpected shock on Jan. 11. On the back of remarks made by the incoming chief executive at his first press conference in five months, $25 billion was wiped off the value of the S&P 500’s top nine pharmaceutical stocks within minutes, US reports say. Fri, 13 Jan 2017 05:37:00 +0000 Clariant Catalysts for Indonesian Ammonia Plants Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant and licensing partner KBR have provided catalysts and technology, respectively, for two major ammonia projects in Indonesia. Further details on the projects, including locations, identities of the manufacturing companies and capacities, were not revealed. Fri, 13 Jan 2017 05:26:00 +0000