BASF buys Cognis

German chemical company BASF has completed its €3.1 billion (£2.6 billion) purchase of speciality chemical company Cognis, which it agreed to in June. Cognis makes chemicals for industries covering: health and nutrition; cosmetics; mining; agriculture; and detergents and cleaners. It also makes lubricants and coatings. The company employs 5500 people, and in 2009 it made sales of €2.6 billion.

Pharma potential in Zimbabwe

The pharma market in Zimbabwe will increase by 85 per cent by 2016, according to a new report. The research from market intelligence company Frost & Sullivan suggests that the market was worth $200 million in 2009, and it will reach $370 million in 2016. A new coalition government is helping the country recover from a long period of economic contraction, it says.

Lanxess leather chemicals in China

German synthetic rubber company Lanxess has said it will invest €30 million in a new plant for leather chemicals in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. It says the move with lead to 150 new jobs. The plant will have a capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes per year and start production in the first half of 2013. Leather chemicals are used to change a wide range of properties, including: softness, water resistance and the capacity to conceal minor defects and reduce soiling.

Teva MS candidate trial results

Israeli generics company Teva and Swedish company Active Biotech have said that Phase III trial results show that their multiple sclerosis (MS) candidate laquinimod reduced relapse in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Patients taking part in the 1106 person Allegro trial were treated with a daily 0.6mg dose. The candidate also reduced disability progression. Laquinimod has fast track designation in the US, which means it could arrive on the market sooner. The companies are planning to submit regulatory applications in the US and the EU once the results from the second Phase III study, Bravo, arrive in the third quarter of 2011. Laquinimod is also under investigation for autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease and Lupus. Active Biotech developed laquinimod and licensed it to Teva in June 2004.

Rhodia launches Asia biogas projects

French chemical company Rhodia has said it will build two new biogas plants in Asia. The company entered the biogas market in 2009 when it bought stakes in pilot plants in China and Vietnam from holding company Econcern. Biogas is a mixture of primarily methane and carbon dioxide obtained from fermentating organic waste.

DSM to buy controlling stake in AGI

Dutch life and material sciences company DSM had said it plans to spend €48 million on a 51 per cent stake in Taiwanese company AGI. AGI makes UV curable resins and other products for coatings to be used in paper, wood, plastic and graphic arts applications. AGI made 2009 sales of TWD3.6 billion.

Wacker builds US polysilicon plant

German chemical company Wacker says it will spend €1.1 billion on the construction of a new polycrystalline silicon production plant near Cleveland in Tennessee, US. The plant will have a capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year and create 650 new jobs are in Cleveland. The company says it is expecting rapid growth in silicon demand for polycrystalline silicon driven by the solar power and electronics industries.

Andrew Turley

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