November’s top stories: Lanxess plans 1,200 job cuts, Dow’s $1.21bn subsidiary sale

Lanxess announced plans to slash 1,200 jobs, Dow Chemical sold its Angus Chemical subsidiary to Golden Gate Capital for $1.21bn, while Samsung agreed to sell its chemical and defence operations for $1.7bn, Chemicals-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from November.


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Golden Gate Capital buys Dow's Angus Chemical unit for $1.21bn

Dow Chemical signed a deal to sell its Angus Chemical subsidiary to American private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $1.21bn.

The sale included the Angus business headquarters and research and development (R&D) facility in Illinois; manufacturing facilities in Louisiana, and Ibbenbueren, Germany; and a packaging facility in Niagara Falls, New York.

The deal also comprises associated business, inventory, customer contracts, process technology and certain intellectual property.

Samsung sells chemicals and defence operations for $1.7bn

Samsung

South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group signed a deal to sell stakes in its chemical and defence units for KRW1.9tn ($1.7bn).

The deal includes the sale of Samsung Electronics' and Samsung Corporation's 57.6% stake in Samsung General Chemicals and a 32.4% stake in Samsung Techwin to Hanwha for about KRW1.1tn ($900.8m) and KRW840bn ($756.6m) respectively.

In addition, Hanwha acquires Samsung's interest in the Samsung Thales and Samsung Total Petrochemicals joint ventures.

Ineos to invest £640m in UK shale gas exploration

Chemical giant Ineos outlined its plans to invest £640m in UK shale gas exploration, in line with efforts to use the gas as a raw material for its chemicals plants.

The company has submitted proposals to acquire the petroleum exploration and development licences from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).

If the licences are secured, Ineos will become a major player in the UK's shale gas industry.

Lanxess looks to cut 1,200 jobs

Lanxess

German chemicals firm Lanxess is reportedly planning to slash 1,200 jobs in line with the restructure of its operations cut down.

Proposed plans form part of the company's strategy to tackle overcapacity in the synthetic rubber industry, reported Reuters citing German daily Rheinische Post.

The planned job cuts, potentially amounting to 7% of the workforce, will affect administration, marketing and research and development (R&D) at the company's facilities in Cologne and Leverkusen, Germany.


Pemex to restructure operations with five new production subsideries in Mexico

Mexican state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) received approval from its board of directors to proceed with its planned restructuring, including the creation of a unit that will manage fertiliser and ethylene operations.

Planned restructuring includes transforming its existing four operating units into five subsidiaries under two divisions.

One of the units will manage the company's upstream and downstream or exploration and production activities, while the industrial transformation unit will comprise Pemex's natural gas, refining and petrochemicals operations.

Planned to be launched in 2015, Pemex's five new subsidiaries will focus on drilling, logistics, co-generation and services, fertilisers and ethylene.

Researchers identify new isolation technique to produce only propylene from propane

propane

Researchers from the Texas A&M University, US, identified a new way for the optimal isolation of propylene from propane, producing only propylene.

The process, called counter-diffusion, involves individual applications of metal ions and organic ligands to the film, instead of using a mixture to coat it.

With high metal ion concentration inside the film, ligands remain highly concentrated outside the film, while counter-diffusing in various directions.

M&G Resins USA receives GHG permit for $1bn resin plant in Texas, US

M&G Resins USA received greenhouse gas (GHG) permits from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its planned $1bn chemical processing and utility support facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, US.

EPA issued two final GHG prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) construction permits to M&G Resins for the project, which includes construction of a polyethylene terephthalate resin production plant and combined support systems for heat and power utility generation.

The facility is estimated to emit about 1,178,441t of CO2 each year.

Agrium looks to slash 500 jobs and divest non-core assets

Fertiliser producer Agrium is reportedly looking to slash 500 jobs and divest several non-core assets, as part of its efforts to generate savings of $475m by 2017.

The company also plans to lower operating and administrative expenses, and working capital at its farm retail operations.

Other companies, including Saskatchewan-based PotashCorp and US-based Mosaic, have initiated cost-cutting programmes in response to the drop in potash prices to a six-year low earlier this year.

Agrium plans to divest its micronutrients and European urea-ammonium nitrate units.

AkzoNobel joins collaboration to explore ways of using waste as chemical feedstock

AkzoNobel

AkzoNobel joined a group of Dutch industry and semi-governmental partners to explore ways to use waste streams as a feedstock for chemical production.

Partners include Enerkem, the investment and development agency for the Northern Netherlands (NOM), Groningen Seaports, Rotterdam Partners and Innovation Quarter.

Canadian clean technology firm Enerkem has developed a technology that converts waste into synthesis gas, which is a key material during the production of chemicals such as methanol and ammonia.

Platform Specialty Products buys Chemtura's agrochemicals unit for $1bn

Speciality chemicals firm Platform Specialty Products completed the acquisition of Chemtura AgroSolutions (CAS) from US-based Chemtura in a deal worth around $1bn.

The deal comes after Platform acquired agrochemicals firm Agriphar for €300m and agreed to buy Arysta LifeScience for $3.5bn.

The acquired businesses allow Platform to strengthen its agrochemicals presence in more than 100 countries and include a broad range of traditional and non-traditional crop solutions.