Basell, a global leader in polyolefins, and Lyondell Chemical Company (NYSE: LYO), one of the world's largest chemical companies, have announced the signing of a definitive agreement pursuant to which Basell will acquire Lyondell's outstanding common shares for $48 per common share in an all-cash transaction with a total enterprise value of approximately $19 billion, including the assumption of debt.

The purchase price per share represents a 45% premium to Lyondell's closing share price on May 10, 2007, the day prior to the disclosure by Access Industries, the industrial group that owns Basell, of its potential interest in Lyondell, and a 20% premium to Lyondell's closing share price on July 16, 2007. The transaction was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of Basell and Lyondell.

The transaction will create one of the sector's largest companies. Lyondell's three business segments - ethylene, co-products and derivatives; propylene oxide and related products; and refining - will complement and significantly strengthen Basell's polyolefins business. Basell and Lyondell together would have had combined 2006 revenues of approximately $34 billion and 15,000 employees around the world.

Len Blavatnik, chairman and founder of U.S.-based Access Industries, said: "The combination of Basell and Lyondell creates one of the top chemical companies in the world. This combination further strengthens Access' long-term strategic position in the global petrochemical industry." Commenting on the transaction, Volker Trautz, Chief Executive Officer of Basell, said: "Lyondell's competitively positioned assets, access to raw material and refining capacity are excellent complements to Basell's diversified portfolio."

"We believe this transaction offers significant value for Lyondell's shareholders," said Dan F. Smith, chairman, president and CEO of Lyondell. "We are very pleased that Basell recognizes the value and fit of our portfolio of chemical and refining assets. Basell and Lyondell share a common vision for continued success, and the combination of our companies will enhance our opportunities."

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the approval of Lyondell shareholders. This transaction is expected to close within the next several months and is not subject to financing.

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The Board of Directors of Graco Inc. has named Patrick J. McHale as the company's president and CEO. He has also been designated a member of the Board of Directors, effective immediately. McHale has been a vice president and officer of Graco since 1999 and is currently vice president and general manager of Graco's Lubrication Equipment Division. In his 17 years with Graco, he has held a number of positions including vice president of Manufacturing/Distribution Operations, vice president of Contractor Equipment, and several operations positions.

Graco Chairman Lee R. Mitau said, "Pat's strong track record, proven leadership ability, and breadth of successful experiences across a range of Graco businesses and operations have made him a very strong successor candidate. The board congratulates Pat on his appointment and is confident that he will provide outstanding leadership to Graco."

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Michigan governor Jennifer M. Granholm has announced a $100,000 grant to Whitehall Township in Muskegon County to extend its sanitary sewer system to accommodate the expansion of Michigan Adhesive Manufacturing Inc. The project is expected to create 10 new jobs and $500,000 in private investment by the company.

The grant is being made available by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. with funds provided by the federal Community Development Block Grant program.

“This project will help Michigan Adhesive grow and create jobs in Whitehall while anchoring the company in the community for years to come,” Granholm said. “Providing communities with the opportunity for economic development and growth is critical as we work to make Michigan a great place to live and do business.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. administers the state’s Community Development Block Grant funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are used to provide grants and loans to eligible counties, cities, villages and townships-typically those with populations less than 50,000 - for economic development, community development and housing projects. Larger communities receive block grant funds directly from the federal government.

Michigan Adhesive Manufacturing was founded in 1998. The company specializes in formulating and manufacturing high-performance, environmentally friendly adhesives, sealants and coatings for a variety of markets including general product assembly and specialty construction.

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Plasticolors, Inc. has completed an asset purchase of the UCDTMColorants products previously owned by Rohm & Haas. The purchase includes the UCD V-Line, Q-Line, HS-Line, E-Line, SF-Line, PS-Line, L-Line, W-Line, and N-Line. The price of the UCD Colorants acquisition was not disclosed.

“The acquisition of the UCD Colorant products is consistent with our focus in supplying quality colorants and additives for high-performance, specialty paints and coatings,” said Scott Becker, Plasticolors’ COO. “The acquired products fit well with our existing lines, providing the full breadth of options required to support this industry.”

All production methods, formulas, raw materials, test methods, specifications and standards will remain unchanged.

“It is very important to us that we make this transition as easy as possible for customers,” Becker continued. “Pricing, quality, delivery, packaging and labeling will remain consistent with what customers are currently receiving.”

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The Board of Directors of Rohm and Haas Company recently authorized the repurchase of up to $2 billion of its common stock.

The company plans to implement this new repurchase authorization in two stages:
  • Execute a $1 billion accelerated share repurchase (ASR) during the third quarter of 2007, which will be funded by the issuance of new debt. The company intends to execute the ASR following the completion of its existing $1 billion share repurchase program, which was authorized by the Board of Directors in December, 2004.
  • Utilize the remaining $1 billion over 2008-2010, with the timing of the purchases dependent on market conditions. These purchases will be funded from available cash.
“Today’s Board actions demonstrate our commitment to leverage our financial strength to drive shareholder value, and underscore our confidence in the long-term potential for Rohm and Haas Company,” commented Raj L. Gupta, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The evolution of our capital structure is an important complement to our Vision 2010 strategic plan for accelerating value creation. Our strong portfolio, rapidly growing presence in emerging markets, leadership in innovation, operational excellence and strong talent deployed throughout the enterprise support this shift in capital structure to provide greater rewards for our shareholders.”

Gupta noted that execution of the ASR and related financing is anticipated to increase the company’s debt to total capital ratio to approximately 50 percent. Further, completion of the existing program and the execution of the ASR are anticipated to reduce shares outstanding to approximately 195 million shares by September 30, 2007 from 219 million at the end of 2006.

The Board also today declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.37 per common share, payable on September 4, 2007, to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 10, 2007.

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