COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

PFIZER WEIGHS PURCHASES,

ALLIANCES FOR REFORMS

NEW YORK - Pfizer Inc., a leading drug maker, is exploring several acquisitions and alliances to ensure its presence in the health-care system after reforms, officials said Monday.

Vice Chairman Edward Bessey said the strategy would help New York-based Pfizer deal with the nation's changing health-care environment.

Mr. Bessey told analysts that Pfizer would not "rule out our ability to complement our product line with generics . . . We can imagine times it would be useful to have specific generic product lines, and we will explore ways to do that." Mr. Bessey said Pfizer is "seeking appropriate partnerships" with managed care companies and access to "appropriate patient data."

MALAYSIA COCOA OUTPUT

EXPECTED TO DROP 5 PERCENT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's cocoa output should total 210,000 metric tons this year, down 5 percent from a year earlier, the state-backed Bernama news agency reported.

Bernama quoted Malaysian Cocoa Board Director General Hashim Wahab as saying Friday that significant tracts of cocoa have been neglected in recent years because of depressed prices.

Malaysia is the world's fourth-largest producer of cocoa beans.

Mr. Hashim said the domestic cocoa price is now about 2,800 ringgit (US$1,099) per ton, up from 2,000 early this year.

THAI COMPANIES INK

OIL PRODUCT DEALS

BANGKOK, Thailand - Petroleum Authority of Thailand and Aromatics (Thailand) Co. have signed oil product deals worth 13 billion baht ($500 million) a year, the state-owned PTT said Monday.

PTT will supply 2 million metric tons of condensate and full-range naphtha worth about 8 billion baht a year to Thai Aromatics for 15 years.

Condensate and full-range naphtha are raw materials used in the production of petrochemicals such as aromatics and ethylene. Aromatics, a PTT subsidiary, plans to build an aromatics plant with a capacity of 358,000 tons annually. Aromatics intends to issue a letter of intent to the successful bidder for the plant construction and accept loan terms for the project by year-end, the statement said.

Aromatics will sell between 700,000 and 800,000 tons of condensate residue and light naphtha worth 4 billion baht a year to the PTT for 15 years.

ICN READY TO FIGHT

ANY TAKEOVER ATTEMPT

COSTA MESA, Calif. - ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. filed documents Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that will be used if stockbroker Rafi Khan succeeds in officially launching his takeover attempt.

The proxy statement is ICN's answer to Mr. Khan's pending proposal to oust ICN board members, including Chairman Milan Panic, and replace them with his own slate.

Mr. Khan is awaiting SEC permission to take his bid to shareholders. In April. He filed a consent solicitation outlining why he was seeking to oust the board. Mr. Khan recently revised that document, on orders of a New York judge, to include information about several legal battles he is involved with, including the one with ICN.

If the company can't derail Mr. Khan's bid in court, the proxy statement would be provided to shareholders in an effort to defeat it.