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BASF-Cognis to Divest PAG Plant

BASFs 3.1 billion acquisition of Cognis GmbH closed on Dec. 10, after the European Commission added a requirement that the company divest intellectual property and plants in Hythe, England, for manufacturing polyalkylene glycols and PAG based lubricants. Hythe, which LubesnGreases estimates has 45,000 metric tons/year of PAG capacity, was by far the larger of two PAG facilities that Cognis brought to the deal; the other is in Dusseldorf, Germany. BASF already has three other PAG plants, which total 72,000 t/y of capacity.

The combined company can continue to buy and market the output from Hythe, and will do so through a tollmanufacturing agreement after the unit is sold. Until a buyer is found, BASF will operate Hythe under a hold separate manager, a company spokeswoman said. About 150 people work at the Hythe site.

Ashland Distribution Sold

Ashland will sell its global distribution business to TPG Capital for $930 million, in a deal that is expected to close this quarter. Ashland Distributions products include industrial chemicals, solvents and additives for lubricants and metalworking fluids. It has annual revenues of $3.4 billion, and for this market handles products from Afton, Dow, Pilot, Sonneborn, TPC Group (formerly Texas Petrochemical Corp.) and others.

Ashland Distribution did not fit its parents focus on specialty chemicals, said Ashland spokesman Jim Vitak, while its other business units have margins that are more typical of a specialty chemical profile, including Ashland Consumer Markets – Valvoline – with its double-digit margins. Distributions range of profitability is much narrower, and it didnt fit the definition, he told Lube Report. TPG, however, said Ashland Distribution has good potential. It will retain the name for a period after the deal closes, and then rename it.

Houghton Buys Shell MWF Biz

In a deal expected to close early this year, Valley Forge, Pa.-based Houghton International is buying Shells metalworking and metal rolling oils business. Shells metalworking oils business fits into Houghtons growth strategy to build the most successful and respected metalworking fluids company in the world, Houghton stated, while Shell said the sale will let it focus on other lubricants and simplify its portfolio.

The purchase includes three Shell subsidiaries along with manufacturing sites in Dortmund, Germany; Turin, Italy; and Rouen, France. Houghton also gets product brand names, associated trademarks, intellectual property, customers and employees. Price of the deal was not disclosed. Affected brands include Shells Metaline, Adrana, Sitala and Dromus soluble cut ting oils; Macron and Garia neat oils; Fenella rolling oils; Ensis rust preventives and others. Houghton will replace the Shell name in these products with its own.

IPAC Opens Dubai Operation

After spending more than a year laying the groundwork, IPAC has entered the Asia, Middle East and Africa markets by opening an office and warehouse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. We have analyzed this market for many years, and with the ever-growing world demand for automotive, industrial and marine lubricants, this region has shown a steep growth, said IPAC CEO Brian Cereghino. He added that the move will help IPACs position as an additive source for international customers, and enable it to compete favorably against others supplying the region.

Dublin, Calif.-based International Petroleum Products and Additives Co. has manufacturing in Illinois, Louisiana, Texas and California. It largely focuses on automotive lubricants, both diesel and gasoline, including engine oils, gear oils and transmission fluids.

Chemtura Ends Bankruptcy

Chemtura successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, and its listing has returned to the New York Stock Exchange. During the 18-month bankruptcy process, the company reduced debt, improved its cost structure and resolved environmental and other liabilities, the now-Philadelphia-based company said.

In the reorganization, Chemturas petroleum additives, lubricants and greases businesses became part of its Performance Products group. Sean OConnor, general manager and president of petroleum additives, said Chemtura now is eager to focus on the future. Weve been growing even while in bankruptcy, he noted, We were under constraints on capital spending. Now were able to move forward with capital expenditures. Goals are to focus on customers requirements, on growth markets in Asia, and on greener products, he added.

Faces in the News

Suzanne F. Day has been elected corporate vice president and general counsel at Lubrizol Corp., replacing Joseph W. Bauer, who is retiring after 25 years with the Wickliffe, Ohio-headquartered additive company. Day joined Lubrizols team in 1998 as part of its litigation and disputes practice, and became deputy general counsel in 2007. Effective Jan. 3, she will have global responsibility for all legal services and strategies.

Swedens Axel Christiernsson has appointed Constantin Madius as Axel Group product manager, in support of its customized lubricating grease business. Madius has been with the Gothenburg company since 1998, most recently as a sales account manager; he also was responsible for customer training and lubrication seminars such as its Grease Genius program.

LubesnGreases is sad to report the death of Henry W. Hank Kruschwitz Jr., 86, of Bethlehem, Pa., on Nov. 21 following an illness. After Navy service in World War II and graduation from Dartmouth College in 1947, Kruschwitz worked in metal chemistries for six decades. From his start at Joseph Ayers Inc., and through its subsequent ownership by Manchem, Rhone-Poulenc, Rhodia, OMG and finally Federal Process Corp., he worked to advance and promote aluminum-complex greases. Thanks to these activities, these products now have an 80-million-pound global market, and he developed an international network of friends in the lubricants industry. Kruschwitz retired in 1999 from FedChem LLC, and consulted for the company until shortly before his death. He loved classical music, nature, travel, and most of all his large family, including his wife Dee who survives him.

Denis Brawn

Denis P. Brawn, 69, an expert in product formulation and practical lubrication who served as technical director of Interlube Corp., died Dec. 6 following unexpected complications from recent surgery. Holding a chemical engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin, he joined Cincinnati-based Interlube in 1974. There he launched many successful product and market innovations, and became well-known for his participation in ILMA and STLE. Enthusiasms included barbershop singing, college sports and railroad history. His wife Betsy, three children and three grandchildren survive him.

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