Companies in the news

Benjamin Moore & Co., Montvale, NJ, said the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, an independent, nonprofit organization, has awarded its GREENGUARD Certification to Benjamin Moore's Eco Spec line of paint products based on the products' low VOC emission levels.

BASF AG, Frankfurt, Germany, citing an outlook that calls for continued weakness in sales and earnings in North America, announced plans for a two-phased cost-cutting program in the NAFTA region. News reports in Europe said the company plans to reduce its work force in the NAFTA region by approximately 1,000 employees.

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Bayer Polymers L.L.C., Pittsburgh, announced plans to close its polyether polyol production unit at Institute, WV, in the first quarter of 2004 and shift manufacturing to the company's South Charleston, WV, site and other North American locations.

Ferro Corp., Cleveland, announced the sale of its Petroleum Additives business to Dover Chemicals, a subsidiary of ICC Chemicals Inc. The business produces fuel additives and metalworking lubricants. Ferro also said it completed the previously announced sale of its Specialty Ceramics business to the investment group CerCo L.L.C.

ICI plc, London, announced plans for a second round of cost-cutting actions as the company seeks to rebound from disappointing financial results in recent quarters. Chief Executive John McAdam said the moves will include reductions in capital spending and a number of unspecified "small divestments," and are intended to result in annual cost savings of approximately œ100 million ($160 million) by 2005.

Millennium Chemicals Inc., Red Bank, NJ, announced that CEO William Landuyt resigned and was replaced by director Worley Clark Jr., who was named chairman, and Executive Vice President Robert Lee, who was named president and CEO. Millennium also said it plans to relocate its headquarters from Red Bank, NJ, to Hunt Valley, MD. The company said TiO2 sales have been adversely affected by the weak global economy and a rainy spring painting season in much of North America, with second-quarter volumes reported to be flat compared to the first quarter and off 15% from the second quarter a year earlier.

NL Industries Inc., Houston, announced plans to close its Houston administrative office and consolidate its corporate headquarters in Dallas. NL also said Lawrence A. Wigdor has retired as president, CEO and director of Kronos Inc., NL Industries' titanium dioxide (TiO2) business, and as executive vice president of NL. Wigdor will remain a consultant.

PPG Industries Inc.'s PPG Aerospace - PRC DeSoto business said it will begin manufacturing aerospace coatings at the business's Suzhou, China, application support center in the third quarter. The application-support center began operations in March of 2002.

RPM International Inc., Medina, OH, announced the opening of RPM Europe S.A., a new European development office that will seek to expand the company's presence in Europe. The development office, located in Waterloo, Belgium, will explore growth opportunities by "seeking and working with local businesses and manufacturing companies interested in joining the RPM family." The office also will provide a marketing-support function for RPM companies seeking to expand export sales in Europe, and will implement "on a pan-European basis," actions designed to provide cost savings through purchasing leverage and other economies of scale.