COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

HUNTSMAN TO ACQUIRE

TWO SPECIALTY PLANTS

NEW YORK - Huntsman Chemical Corp. expects to announce the purchase shortly of two specialty chemical plants in the United States, the company's principal, Jon M. Huntsman, said in a recent interview.

The purchases would mark a significant diversification for Huntsman, one of the nation's largest polystryene producers. The company also is a large polypropylene maker.

"We will continue to work our way into speciality chemicals," Mr. Huntsman said in an interview with Chemical Week magazine.

Huntsman last month said it would pay $1.06 billion to acquire Texaco Inc.' s petrochemical business.

FRANKFURT'S HOECHST

REPORTS CHLORINE LEAK

FRANKFURT, Germany - Eight workers required medical treatment following a chlorine gas leak at a plant of the chemicals giant Hoechst AG near Frankfurt Wednesday, officials said.

The workers were treated for irritation of their respiratory organs and were released, company officials said.

Nearby residents also complained of foul smell, but officials found no trace of chlorine in the air outside the plant.

The Hoechst plant was hit by a series of mishaps and accidents early this year, and in March an explosion killed one worker.

A company statement said the chlorine leaked from a an electrolysis device and was quickly plugged.

SUGAR FIELD PREPARATION

HAMPERED IN CUBA

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Cuba's field preparation for its 1993-94 sugar harvest has been hampered by insufficient rain and fuel shortages, said Leonardo Martinez Lopez, president of Cuba's parliamentary commission on economic production.

The fuel shortages have adversely affected the movement of farm

machinery, he said in Havana recently. Production will not be as low as the 4.2 million metric tons in 1992-93, he said, but will not be much higher either.

The harvest begins in November and traditionally ends in July.

On Sept. 17, Cuba's Sugar Minister Nelson Torres said that the 1993-94 harvest would be shortened, allowing for increased cultivation and greater volume of cane in the next harvest. But he didn't say when the 1993-94 harvest would end.

Mr. Martinez Lopez said the recent introduction of private individual and co-operative farms in Cuba will help increase sugar production in the next and subsequent harvests.

CIBA PHARMACEUTICALS

PROJECTS RITALIN SHORTAGE

SUMMIT, N.J. - The Pharmaceuticals Division of Ciba-Geigy Corp. said pharmacies across the country will soon be experiencing shortages of Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride USP).

Ritalin is a mild central nervous system stimulant used in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and for the treatment of narcolepsy.

Methylphenidate is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II drug - subjecting it to annual production quotas for all manufacturers.

Historically, all supplies of methylphenidate have diminished toward the end of the year as the production quotas are exhausted by the various manufacturers.

This year, the situation has become more acute due to a delay in the DEA's consideration of whether to increase the 1993 quota.