COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

COMMODITY / CHEMICAL BRIEFS

US FARM EXPORTS DOWN

FOR EX-SOVIET REPUBLICS

WASHINGTON - U.S. farm exports to Russia and other former Soviet republics are forecast to total just $1.2 billion in fiscal 1994 (October-September), down $300 million from fiscal 1993, a top U.S. Department of Agriculture official said Tuesday.

Speaking at the USDA's 1994 Outlook Conference, Gene Moos, USDA undersecretary for international affairs and commodity programs, said projected fiscal 1994 exports to the former Soviet Union are also less than half the fiscal 1992 level of $2.7 billion.

COMPANIES SEEK TO TEST

CANCER DRUG ON PEOPLE

Based on encouraging animal and laboratory tests, Allergan Inc. and a San Diego partner want to start testing a potential cancer-fighting drug on humans.

Allergan and Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. said they filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration to start testing the drug on cancer patients.

Allergan also said it increased its stake in Ligand to just under 20 percent, purchasing 400,000 shares for $4 million. The Irvine eye- and skin- products maker previously held 15 percent ownership of Ligand.

Two years ago, Ligand discovered a retinoic acid that in non-human tests has been shown to inhibit reproduction of cancerous cells and trigger the destruction of existing ones. In July 1992, Allergan and Ligand formed a three-year venture to develop drugs made from retinoid, a substance derived

from vitamin A.

FERRUZZI SHAREHOLDERS

APPROVE LEGAL ACTION

MILAN, Italy - Shareholders of Ferruzzi Finanziaria SpA, the holding company of the debt-laden, Italian agro-industrial and commodities group, Tuesday approved a proposal as expected to take legal action against its former auditors, Price Waterhouse, for alleged negligence.

Price Waterhouse audited Ferruzzi's accounts between 1987 and 1992. The auditing firm, which has denied any negligence, last weekend withdrew its certifications and warned that the accounting irregularities that have emerged this year could have severe tax consequences for the commodities and chemicals group.

Shareholder approval of a $1.46 billion plan to raise fresh capital caused Ferruzzi shares to rise by 8 percent during Tuesday's trading.

VIETNAM, CAMBODIA SEEN

POTENTIAL SUGAR SELLERS

LONDON - Although it will take some time for Vietnam and Cambodia to become net exporters of sugar, both countries have big potential for the future, said Eishi Uyeno, executive director of the Japan Sugar Refiners' Association.

"Vietnam has already succeeded in restoring its rice production and is now a big exporter (of rice), and its next targets include sugar," Mr. Uyeno said at an International Sugar Organization seminar here.

Mr. Uyeno said several Japanese trade houses have been approached by

Vietnam to set up sugar mills or refurnish existing ones. But so far, nothing has been concluded. According to statistics from the ISO, Vietnam produced 495,000 metric tons of sugar in 1992, but it only exported 15,000 tons.