FDA rejects BPA ban

(canplastics) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will deny a petition from the National Resources Defense Council's petition to prohibit the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food-contact products manufactured in America.

FDA officials said they did not have enough scientific evidence to warrant such a ban.

In 2008, the National Resources Defense Council submitted a petition asking the FDA to regulate the use of BPA in human food and food packaging. When the FDA didn't reply, the Council sued the administration to get some form of action. This recent announcement is a response to that suit.

However, the federal agency stressed the announcement is not a final safety determination and it continues to support research examining the safety of BPA.

BPA is a chemical used in many consumer products, including clear and hard plastics called polycarbonate used in water and soda bottles, as well as in the resin linings of food and beverage cans and containers of infant formula.

While panned by a variety of consumer advocacy groups, the decision has been praised by plastics industry representatives. ⌠FDA's decision, which has taken into consideration the best available science, again confirms that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials, as it has been approved and used safely for four decades, said Steve Hentges, of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council. ⌠Consumers should understand from this announcement that the position of the independent, scientific experts at FDA is that BPA continues to be safe for use in food-contact materials.

Petron unit completes acquisition of ExxonMobil's Malaysian arm

(interaksyon) -- Petron Corp. announced on Monday that its oil and gas affiliate completed the acquisition of the downstream oil unit of ExxonMobil in Malaysia.

The Philippines' biggest oil refiner and retailer told the Philippine Stock Exchange that Petron Oil and Gas International (POGI) Shd Bhd. completed the purchase of a 65 percent stake in Esso Malaysia Berhad (EMB), 100 percent of ExxonMobil Malaysia Sdn Bhd, and 100 percent of ExxonMobil Borneo Sdn Bhd for USD577.3 million.

POGI bought 175 million common shares of EMB from ExxonMobil International Holdings Inc. for USD195.12 million. The Petron unit also has to undertake an unconditional mandatory takover for the remaining EMB shares that it does not yet own. For this exercise, POGI is offering 3.59 ringgit for each ofer share as set out in the offer on March 16.

"The final vendor price is also the highest price per EMB share paid by POGI within six months prior 16 March 2012, being the date of notice," Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, the transaction's arranger, disclosed.

Bayer MaterialScience buys remaining shares in polyurethane JV

(finanznachrichten) -- Bayer MaterialScience announced that Effective March 31, it will acquire the remaining shares in the 50:50 systems house joint venture Baule SAS from EXIMIUM SAS and other shareholders.

The joint venture was established in 2008 by the Leverkusen-based company and Michel Baule SA, which later was renamed EXIMIUM SAS.

The company said that Baule SAS is a global leader in the development, formulation and processing of polyurethane cast elastomers. Based in Romans, France, the company has subsidiaries in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China.

The company noted that the transaction affects 139 employees, all of whom will be retained. Financial details have not been disclosed.


EuroChem completes acquisition of BASF's fertilizer assets

(basf) -- BASF has completed the sale of its fertilizers activities in Antwerp, Belgium, to EuroChem as of March 31, 2012, as planned. The appropriate antitrust authorities have given their approval for the transaction. The total purchase price amounts to around EUR830 million, including a deferred part of circa EUR130 million payable over the period 2013 to 2016. This transaction will lead to an expected pre-tax d isposal gain of approximately EUR600 million for BASF in the first quarter of 2012.

The scope of the transaction includes plants for CAN/AN fertilizers (calcium ammonium nitrate/ammonium nitrate), NPK fertilizers (nitrogen-phosphate-potassium) and nitrophosphoric acid as well as three related nitric acid plants. The activities were carved out into a separate company, now named EuroChem Antwerpen NV. About 330 employees have been transferred to the new company.

Dmitry Strezhnev, CEO of EuroChem, said: ⌠With the purchase of these facilities we are continuing our strategy to increase our share in the global fertilizer market both through organic growth and acquisitions. I am looking forward to working with the highly experienced team in Antwerp.

⌠EuroChem is a strategic partner who will support and further strengthen our Verbund concept of integration at our site in Antwerp. My thanks go to our former employees who have done excellent work over the past years, said Dr. Andreas Kreimeyer, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and responsible for the Chemicals segment.


Germany blast at Evonik plant in Marl injures at least 2

(bloomberg) -- A blast at a chemical plant of Evonik Industries AG in the city of Marl in Germany's Ruhr valley injured at least two people, the city's police department said.

Police were informed at 1:37 p.m. local time about several explosions at the site and a fire, which firefighters brought under control, police spokeswoman Ramona Hoerst said.
The authorities asked local residents to keep windows closed as a precautionary measure, and so far monitoring has not detected alarming concentrations of harmful substances in the atmosphere, she said. About 100 firefighters and police went to the site.

The city's chemical park is among the largest in Europe, with 30 companies employing about 10,000 people producing more than 4,000 products, according to Evonik's website. The park is operated by Infracor GmbH, a subsidiary of Evonik Degussa GmbH, with Evonik employing about 7,000 people at the site.

The blast was at a plant making cyclododecatriene, used in making flame retardants, solvents, flavors and fragrances, Infracor said in a statement. One person remained in the hospital, according to the statement.