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$4.7 Billion for Solutia

Eastman Chemical Co. is buying Solutia Inc., which makes aviation and fire-resistant hydraulic fluids, for $4.7 billion, the two announced Jan. 27. The acquisition of Solutia is a significant step in our growth strategy and one that will broaden our reach into emerging geographies, particularly Asia-Pacific, said Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of Eastman. The deal is expected to close by mid-year.

Among Eastmans many products are chemicals used to produce synthetic lubricants or as additives for synthetic lubricants in applications including metalworking. Solutia, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., manufactures the Skydrol line of fire-resistant aviation hydraulic fluids, which are used in more than half of the worlds commercial aircraft. The company also produces a variety of performance materials and specialty chemicals.

Base Oil Streams from Heritage-Crystal Clean

In late January, Elgin, Ill.-based Heritage-Crystal Clean fired up its new rerefinery in Indianapolis and began producing two grades (80 and 150) of API Group II paraffinic base oil – about six months ahead of schedule. The new facility, with a cost approaching $54 million, eventually will recycle up to 50 million gallons of used oil and produce up to 30 million gallons of base oil, or about 2,000 barrels per day.

While plant construction was ongoing, we were also adding service customers and building our used oil collection volume, and we are now up to an annual run rate of approximately 25 million gallons per year, said Heritage President and CEO Joe Chalhoub. During 2011, we added more than 12,500 new used oil customers, and we anticipate accelerating the growth in our customer base as we continue to roll out our used oil services to the 67 branches in our network. We expect that after breaking in the plant and completing performance test runs, we will begin running at approximately this rate (50 percent of capacity) and plan to ramp up to full capacity by 2013.

Old World Sells Glycol Business

Old World Industries LLC, known for Peak brand antifreeze and consumer products, has sold its Chemicals division to Indorama Ventures PCL of Thailand. That segment includes a plant in Clear Lake, Texas, that makes ethylene glycol and ethylene oxide. Old Worlds Consumer Products business is not part of the deal and will continue to operate as a privately held corporation in Northbrook, Ill. As part of the purchase agreement, Old World will enter into a long-term glycol supply contract with Indorama for glycol production in the United States.

Once the transaction closes, Old World said it will focus on marketing Peak products worldwide, and on building the infrastructure to capture a leading position for its BlueDEF diesel exhaust fluid, which it sees as a high-growth market.

Mexican Hub for Lube Shippers

Raloy Lubricants and railroad company Kansas City Southern de Mexico have opened the Diamond International transload center, a storage terminal that will primarily be used for lubricants, base oil, additives, antifreeze and brake fluids. Diamond will operate the transload center, which has capacity to handle 400 rail cars and 27,000 tons annually at its location in Mexico City.

Raloy will receive the base oils coming from the U.S. in this terminal by rail car and ship to its facility, said a Raloy spokesman. Operating like a bulk liquid terminal, the center will receive, store and transload base oils, antifreeze and other liquids coming from the United States by railroad. The terminal is not exclusively for Raloys use, the spokesman added, and is available to serve other customers.

Munzing Picks Fitz Chem

Specialty chemical distributor Fitz Chem, headquartered in Itasca, Ill., is now marketing Munzings additives to customers throughout the central U.S., including N.D., S.D., Minn., Wis., Michigans upper peninsula, Ill., Iowa, Neb., Kans., Mo., Okla., Texas, Ark., La., Miss., and western Tenn. The marketing partnership, effective Jan. 1., includes Munzing additives such as liquid and powder defoamers, wetting agents, rheology modifiers, emulsifiers and other chemicals.

Avista Ups Rerefinery Stake

German rerefiner Avista Oil AG in December has doubled its stake in Universal Environmental Services, which is building a new rerefinery in the state of Georgia. Plans call for a plant that can process 30 million gallons of waste oil per year and produce API Group II base oil. Its completion is targeted for first-quarter 2013.

Avista first invested in UES last year, infusing the venture with funds to grow its used oil collection business and plan the base oil rerefinery in Peachtree City, Ga. In this latest transaction, it bought out two private equity investors to gain 86 percent of UES, for undisclosed terms. The other 14 percent is owned by McPherson Cos., a used oil collection firm.

This new organization simplifies our organization and aligns our stakeholders interests, said UES CEO Juan Fritschy. We can now concentrate our attention on upgrading our collection network and completing our new rerefinery.

Label Companies Fused

Multi-Color Corp., a major supplier of labels and services with 18 operations worldwide, has completed its acquisition of the privately held York Label Group. York Label, based in Omaha, Neb., has 12 plants across the U.S., Canada and Chile, and approximately 1,200 employees. It primarily serves the pressure-sensitive label market. Purchase price for the deal, which closed last year, was a combined $356 million in assumed debt, stock and cash.

Base Oil Project for Pakistan

National Refinery Ltd. plans a refinery expansion by 2016 in Karachi, Pakistan, that will supply another 4,500 barrels day of base oil and 40,000 barrels of diesel fuel, according to an announcement from Honeywell UOP. NRL operates three refineries and a petrochemicals plant in the citys Karangi Industrial Park, including the regions only base oil facility, with a current 3,500 b/d of API Group I capacity.

UOP did not disclose which API Group the new base oils would meet. It said the plant will use UOP technology to upgrade heavy bottoms into a feed-stock for fuels, and will make based oils using processes licensed jointly by UOP and ExxonMobil Research & Engineering.

PetroChoice Trades Hands

Greenbriar Equity Group acquired lubricants distributor PetroChoice from Denver-based private equity firm KRG Capital Partners. Terms were not disclosed. Other lubricants distributors gathered under Riddlesburg, Pa.-based PetroChoice include Tri-County Petroleum, acquired in December 2007, the automotive division of Loos and Dilworth, acquired in April 2009, and Wisconsin-based Anderson Lubricants, acquired in April 2011.

Petroplus Faces Insolvency

Petroplus Holdings AG in late January said it would file for insolvency in its home country Switzerland and will consider selling the Petit Couronne refinery in France, which includes 6,300 barrels a day of API Group I and 1,000 b/d of Group III base oil capacity. The company cited failed negotiations with its lenders to reopen credit lines. The lenders filed acceleration notices, and Petroplus went into default under its $1.75 billion in notes and bonds.

In December, Petroplus announced the temporary economic shutdowns of Petit Couronne, along with its refineries in Antwerp, Belgium, and Cressier, Switzerland; meanwhile, its refineries in Coryton, U.K., and Ingolstadt, Germany, continue to operate.

International Briefs

The opening of Shells Russian blending plant has been delayed again, to mid-2012. Shell previously pushed back the completion date for the 180,000 metric tons per year capacity plant in Torzhok, Tver region, from the end of 2010 to December 2011. Construction at the blending complex should wrap up in first-half 2012, a company spokeswoman said last month, and production will begin when the company receives necessary permits and licenses, probably in the next four to five months.

Total Lubricants awarded its British Columbia bulk lubricants distributorship to Auto-Camping effective Feb. 1..

Oryx Oil and Gas has opened its second lubricant blending plant in Africa. The new 18,000-metric-ton facility is located in the Togo port city of Lome and is intended help Oryx expand from its base in east Africa to markets in west Africa. The new plant began operating in mid-2011 but its unveiling was not officially announced until ABB Cellier, the French contractor that built it, issued a press release early this year. Oryx also has a plant in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which makes lubes under its own brand and toll-blends for others.

Laugfs Lubricants Ltd. of Sri Lanka plans to set up its own blending plant in Hambantota port, on the southeastern end of the island nation, the company advised its lubricant distributors and dealers. No details on plant capacity and construction timeline were available, pending permits.

Tonen General Sekiyu will purchase ExxonMobils shares in ExxonMobil Yugen Kaisha for $3.9 billion. Since it is majority owner of both companies, ExxonMobil thus will forge an integrated downstream business in Japan.

Seeing strong demand from process industries including lubricant blenders in India and neighboring Asian countries, Charles Ross & Sons Co. has opened a new manufacturing plant to make specialty blending and mixing equipment in Pune, India. Operated by subsidiary Ross Process Equipment, the plant is triple the size of Ross previous facility there, which opened in 2007.

Faces in the News

Mark Lashier, formerly senior vice president, specialties, aromatics and styrenics, has been elected executive vice president, olefins and polyolefins at Chevron Phillips Chemical. He replaces Mark Haney, who retired at year end after a career of more than 30 years with Chevron Phillips Chemical and Phillips Petroleum.

Jeewat Bijlani is now Houghton Internationals vice president of global business development, marketing and strategy. He joined the Valley Forge, Pa., company from Celerant Consulting, where he led strategic and business transformation efforts for clients. He also led Houghton in its integration of Shells metalworking fluids and the D.A. Stuart business.

Hoover Container Solutions in Houston has tapped Paul Lewis as president and chief operating officer, taking over from Donald W. Young, who continues as the intermediate bulk container manufacturers chairman and CEO. Lewis has more than 25 years of industry experience, including the past 10 with container service company PSC. The company also picked Al Kibbe, formerly with Ermewa Group in Houston, to be its new manager, large format tanks.

Aaron Rath is now principal manager at specialty chemical distributor Archway Sales. With two degrees in chemistry, a patent and numerous technical publications to his credit, he most recently worked as a sales manager for Tri-Iso.

Instrumentation industry executive Brian Mitchell has become president and CEO at Spectro Inc., which makes analytical tools and software for machine condition monitoring. He comes to Spectro from Polychromix, which was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Brian Delaney joined environmental, health and safety consulting firm August Mack as remediation program development manager. He has over 21 years in the environmental remediation field, working on military, industrial, RCRA, CER-CLA and other brownfield projects that included industrial, demolition and decontamination work.

RelaDyne LLC, a lubricant and services company formed by the rollup of several lubricant distributors in 2010, has named Chris Lasso as general manager for its Chicago-based operations. As manager of Mid-Town Petroleum, Lube Oils and Motor Oils Inc., he will work to build the companies business in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, and also move the three operations to RelaDynes ERP system.

Stephen Tolton has retired as CEO of PetroCard Inc., the Seattle-based fuels and lubricant distributor. Filling his position is David Harris, a 40-year veteran with deep executive experience in petroleum distribution who most recently was president of Pacific Pride Services.

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