Increased competition contributed to a 25.9% decline in multi-outlet US sales of coconut oil, with a 16.1% drop in the natural channel, according to SPINS data. Negative press surrounding a 2017 American Heart Association advisory that warned against coconut oil consumption may also have affected sales.
Rising temperatures cause canola seedpods to prematurely develop, resulting in a 15% to 20% loss in oilseed yields, according to biologist Lars Ostergaard, co-author of a study. The researchers found that a gene called Indehiscent responded independently to heat, a reaction they say could be turned off with further study.
Drugmaker Roche Holding AG announced Thursday it will pay $1.9 billion for the remainder of cancer-data firm Flatiron Health, which is backed by Alphabet Inc. and uses data to help doctors determine treatment for cancer patients. Roche already owns 12.6% of Flatiron.
China's environmental policies are expected to offer opportunities in ethylene and other feedstocks for US companies, writes Katherine Blunt. The policies could increase demand for chlorine and caustic soda, which would help companies such as Olin and Westlake.
Business leaders and lawmakers are calling on the US to reach a deal with Canada and Mexico to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement rather than exit the deal.
A joint venture created by Total, NOVA Chemicals and Borealis nearly a year ago plans to build a steam cracker and polyethylene plant on the Texas Gulf Coast. Total will own 50% of the project, while a JV between NOVA and Borealis will hold the remaining 50%.
Westlake Chemical posted fourth-quarter profit of $802 million, with $591 million a result of changes in US tax law. The company will also expand capacity at plants in Germany and Geismar, La.
Plastics-to-fuel technologies have great potential for a range of uses, even if patience must be exercised, writes Rick Wagner of Chevron Phillips Chemical and vice chair of the American Chemistry Council's Flexible Film Recycling Group. "Some of us can work on increasing logistics efficiencies, others can contribute to creating cleaner recycling streams, others can create markets for end products, and so on," he writes.
Process plant operators can easily and affordably optimize their facility's operations using Industry 4.0 technology, gaining the ability to handle upgrades and repairs remotely or altering production based on market changes, writes Rafal Selega of ABB. There are a number of safety concerns to be aware of, however.
Finding new markets and operating more efficiently requires a culture where employees constantly look for ways the business could be better, writes George Westerman. "Leaders who want their organizations to continuously transform must not only look for dissatisfaction on which to capitalize, but also be willing to cultivate dissatisfaction in their employees," he writes.
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