The Biggest Do Best

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  • Nonferrovs Prices Expected to Rise

    40-Cents p e r lb.

    Capper Lead Zinc Black bars indicate current prices; white bars 1 9 5 9 to 1961 prices

    now back in operation, although under new rules .

    Suspension of the barter program was followed by a sharp drop in lead and zinc prices. In turn a serious situation was created for domestic mining companies. These firms have demandedand will get, says Zimmerman higher import duties that will check foreign metal influx into the U. S. With lead, duties now run 1.06 cents a pound. Zinc's du ty is 0.7 cent; domestic firms w-ant 2.1 cents per pound. The Emergency Lead and Zinc Committee ha s asked t h e Tariff Commission meanwhile, to look into the effect of lead and zinc imports on domestic miners. However, the commission is still studying the request and has not yet decided whether to take any action.

    Firms also want a higher duty for copper, adds Zimmerman. The present duty is 2 cents p e r pound (now suspended h u t reimposed if price goes he-low 24 cents a p o u n d ) . T h e industry wants a 4-cent duty if price goes below 30 cents a pound. Higher import duties on lead , zinc, and copper will serve to raise domestic pr ices of these metals, Zimmerman concludes.

    Longer Out look. U. S. needs for copper, lead, and zinc have exceeded domestic production for several years. "It seems safe to predic t that this condition wil l continue through the midterm 1959 to 1961, assuming there are no large scale international upheavals, no deep depressions, and no prolonged labor trouble," Charles H. Winship, Jr., Phelphs Dodge, told N I C B .

    For t h e mid-term period, the biggest

    consumer worry is availability. But projections indicate enough metal will b e around. Properties which operate now, plus those that will run by 1960, should provide enough copper, lead, a n d zinc, Winship explains.

    Producers, on the other hand, will worry over demand . No doubt production will be interrupted a t times, a n d there will be periods when consumption will vary from expected rates. Bu t these periods will be short ones. T h e industry can expect production

    a n d consumption to be relatively stable without feverish inventory reductions or accumulations.

    Consumption Est imates . Winship predicts the free world will consume newly mined nonferrous metals by 1960 as follows:

    * Copper, 3.6 to 4.0 million short tons.

    * Lead, 2.1 to 2.3 million short tons. * Zinc, 2.5 to 2.7 million short tons.

    The Biggest Do Best Rate of Return on Stockholders Investment, 1 955

    4 Largest H H B O t h e r Companies H H B Companies

    Industrial Chemicals

    Petroleum Refining

    Tires and Inner Tubes

    Paper and Allied Products

    Glass

    Sources Federal T r a d e Commission

    In the process industries, largest companies show the highest return on stockholders' investment

    ou DON'T HAVE x o BE BIG to make money, but perhaps it helps. At least, that's what a recently released report from the Federal T rade Commission indicates.

    During the postwar years, the FTC study indicates, the four largest corporations in five major chemical process industries consistently turned in a greater rate of return (after taxes) on stockholders' investment than the average return for a group of other firms in t h e same industry. Figures for 1955 ( chart ) are typical for process industry firms over the entire 1947-55 period.

    Among industrial chemical firms, for instance, F T C finds that the four larges t ( D u Pont , Union Carbide, Allied Chemical, D o w ) have earned an average return ranging from 26.49c in 1950

    down to 17.7% in 1953. In 1955, their ra te hit 24.69c. On the other hand, 21 smaller firms made their best showing in 1950, also, when t hey averaged I T . 1 % . Average return on investment for this group dropped to low of 9 .8% i n 1954, but rebounded to 12.8% in 1955.

    Chemical firms, as a g roup , do very well. In 1955, only motor vehicle and equipment manufacturers did better than the 25 chemical companies ' avera g e of 20 .2%. T h e even higher return chalked up b y the four biggest companies is largely due to Du Pont's excellent showing. Du Pont earned 3 4 . 1 % on stockholders' investment in 1955. Carbide's return amounted to 20.0% . Dow and Allied trailed off t o 14.6% and 12. Ki respectively.

    O C T . 2 1, J 957 C &EN 17

  • INDUSTRY & BUSINESS

    And, he adds, free world capacity should meet these estimates.

    Winship also makes some price pre-dictions for the mid-term 1959 to 1961 period:

    Copper, now 27 cents, should near 30 to 35 cents per pound

    Lead, now 14 cents, should reach 15 to 17 cents per pound

    Zinc, now 10 cents, around 13 to 15 cents per pound

    But, cautions Winship, many noneco-nomic factors can affect future prices. These include government purchases (either direct or through barter pro-grams) , sales by government agencies outside the U. S., or import and export restrictions.

    Scmdoz Net Up Our 1957 rundown of last year's

    earnings for several Swiss chemical companies (C&EN, May 27, page 62) indicated a decline in net income for Sancloz between 1955 and 1956. The apparent decline, however, results from a change in the company's method of computing its profits, rather than a drop in actual net income. Sandoz's earn-ings of 16,380,000 Swiss francs last year (as we reported) should have been compared with earnings of 15,-361,000 Swiss francs in 1955, after de-duction of a pension plan contribution of 4 million francs. Last year's net in-come for Sandoz, therefore, actually was about 7'' 'c above comparable earn-ings for the previous year.

    Carbide's "Uranium Story" Union Carbide is sitting down this

    week totaling up the results of the first year's showing of its 16-mm. color movie, "The Petrified River," and dis-covering that it is well on the way to becoming the most successful industrial movie ever made. During its first year of distribution, it has had 16,115 show-ings before schools and service groups to more than a million people and to another 15.5 million home viewers via TV. In addition, it was selected for presentation at the 1956 Edinburgh film festival.

    Some 500 prints are now in circula-tion, including 11 with foreign language sound tracks. Some 50 to 80 million people are expected to see it in a four-or five-year period. This would sur-

    pass the record set by Ford's "American Cowboy," which was shown to 40 mil-lion over a four-to five-year span.

    The movie is subtitled "The Uranium Story," and traces uranium from the time rocks and radioactive materials were laid clown eons ago by a vast inland sea, how -uranium is mined and milled, and how the atom's energy is working for peaceful purposes.

    The photo below (taken from the picture ) depicts a sinuous, weathered sandstone formation which underlies sizeable uranium deposits, as viewed from the mouth of an abandoned Colorado mine,

    Briefs . .

    Texas Eastern Transmission has filed a $32 million civil suit in U. S. District Court in New Orleans against nine barge firms, three oil firms, and one in-dividual. Texas Eastern 'charges that since 1952 defendants have conspired to restrict competition with barge op-erators by any pipeline carrying clean petroleum products refined in the Texas-Louisiana-Arkansas area to the Midwest. Defendants' actions have de-layed conversion of Little Big Inch pipeline to petroleum products service. Federal Power Commission authorized

    View from portal of abandoned Colorado mine shows horizontal formations of sandstone- Uranium deposits are usually found about 200 feet above sandstone

    2 8 C & E N OCT. 21 , 1957

  • INDUSTRY & BUSINESS

    conversion this June and work began immediately; expected completion elate was this September.

    Diamond Alkali and Salem-Brosius, inc., have completed arrangements to conduct research and development on a new experimental furnace for continu-ous tonnage chlorination of refractory ores.

    Texas Eastman is now in commercial production of neopentyl glycol at Long-view, Tex. Designed for a capacity of several million pounds a year, operating efficiencies of the new plant are allow-ing Eastman Chemical Products, which handles sales, to cut the price from 45 to 37 cents a pound.

    Union Carbide's Baklite Division expects a 30rA increase in the produc-tion capacity of VYHH type vinyl resins when its expansion program, now under way at Texas City, Tex., is completed in the spring of 1958, VYHH type resin is a copolymer of vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate .

    American Cyanamid's Formica Di-vision expects a 30CA increase in pro-duction at its Evendale, Ohio, plant when its expansion project is completed in the spring of 1958.

    Firestone plans to expand operations at its Orange, Tex., butadiene plant.-,

    Phillips Petroleum will catalvticallv convert normal pentane to isopentane in new units being built at its Borger, Tex., refinery. These units, which use the Penex process developed hy Uni-versal Oil Products, will have a capacity of 13,500 barrels per day.

    Pacific Vegetable Oil Corp. continues its expansion program with plans for a new $135,000 office and laboratory building at Richmond, Cal. The com-pany put into operation a new Blaw-Knox Desolventizer-Toaster for solvent extraction in July and is completing stainless steel kettle installations for processing and heat treating vegetable oils.

    National Gypsum buys another plant Connecticut Adamant Plaster Co. of New Havenat a reported price ex-ceeding $1 million. Plant formerly made gypsum wall board only, bu t it

    (Continued on page 31 )

    EMPLOYMENT (Chemicals) THOUSANDS OF WORKERS Source: U. S. Deportment of Labor

    & CHEMICALS & ALLIED PRODUCTS

    200

    100

    V & ~ ~

    INDUSTRIAL O R G A N I C

    **k * % - % ^

    -ik* 3^1

    INDUSTRIAL IIMORGAMIC *>* ^ *

    1955 a: 1956 T T r

    July -316.0

    1957

    July

    O C T . 21 , 1957 C & E N 2 9

  • INDUSTRY & B U S I N E S S

    C & E N P R O G R E S S R E P O R T

    Expansion in the Chemical Industry Here are companies mak ing news last month, add ing to the

    chemical process industries by . . .

    PLANNING . . . Company and Site

    Air Reduction Calvert Caty, Ky.

    Alabama Metallurgical Selma, Ala.

    Dow Chemical Co. Bay City, Mich.

    Foster Grant Co. Baton Rouge, La.

    Merck & C o . R. h way, . J.

    Hercules Powder Co. Hercules, Calif.

    Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co. site unknown

    Phillips Petroleum Co. near Grants, . .

    Plant or Unit Vinyl acetate

    Primary magnesium plant

    Polyethylene plant

    Styrene monomer plant

    High purity silicon

    Urea plant

    Ceramic fuel elements p lant

    Uranium ore processing mill

    Size Expands capacity 50r/< to 45 million

    pounds a year 6000 tons a year

    Multimillion dollar

    $5.4 million, increase capacity to 105 million pounds a year

    Pilot plant and full-scale plants

    10,000 tons a year

    Pilot plant quanti ty

    1725 tons a dav

    STARTING CONSTRUCTION . Emkay Chemical

    Elizabeth, N. J. A. R. Maas Chemical

    Richmond, Calif. Monsanto Chemical Co.

    Springfield, Mass. Norwich Pharmacal Co.

    Woods Corner, . . Olin Mathieson Chemical Corp.

    Montville, Conn. L. Sonneborn Sons

    Petrolia, Pa.

    Chemical specialties plant

    Phosphoric acid and catalyst plant

    High impact styrene plant

    Nitrofuran drug plant

    Assembly plant for nuclear core reactors

    Microcrystalline wax plant

    Will double capacity

    $350,000

    Increase production from pilot plant quantities

    STARTiNG PRODUCTION . . . Allied Chemical & Dye Corp.,

    Solvay Process Division Brunswick, Ga.

    Electro Metallurgical Co. Alloy, W . Va.

    Food Machinery & Chemical Corp. Westvaco Mineral Products Division

    Newark, Calif. Metal Hydrides, Inc.

    Danvers, Mass. Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical Co.

    Neville Island, Pa. Vanadium Corp. of America

    near Steubenville, Ohio

    Chlorine-caustic soda plant

    Ferroalloys plant

    Phosphoric acid and phosphate chemicals facilities

    Sodium borohydride plant

    Ferroalloys plant

    Ferroalloys plant

    Doubles capacity

    Increases capacity sixfold

    $5.5 million

    E D . N O T E : This is corrected version of table from C&EN, Oct. 7, page 29.

    3 0 C&EN OCT. 2 i, 1 9 5 7

  • will b e e x p a n d e d to i n c l u d e a full l i ne of gypsum, b u i l d i n g m a t e r i a l s .

    G e n e r a l Electric has e x p a n d e d i ts Pi t tsf ie lc l Mass . , m a g n e s i u m o x i d e p l an t , d o u b l i n g c a p a c i t y . A b u l k - h a n d l ing s y s t e m , 4 0 0 - t o n s t o r a g e un i t , a n d t w o n e w 1 0 0 0 - k v a t r a n s f o r m e r s fo r c a r b o n - a r c fusing; f u r n a c e s h a v e b e e n i n s t a l l ed .

    L i n d e , d iv i s ion of U n i o n C a r b i d e , c o n t i n u e s the e x p a n s i o n of its T o n a w a n d a fac i l i t ies w i th p l a n s to b u i l d a h i g h p r e s s u r e l a b o r a t o r y , a m e t a l l u r g i c a l l a b o r a t o r y , a n d a n e w se rv i ce s b u i l d i n g . T h e h i g h p r e s s u r e l a b o r a t o r y will h a v e e q u i p m e n t c a p a b l e of p r o d u c i n g g a s a n d l i q u i d p r e s s u r e s u p t o 2 0 0 , 0 0 0 p .s . i . T h e me ta l l u rg i ca l l a b o r a t o r y wi l l c o n t a i n n e w e q u i p m e n t f o r d i e d e v e l o p m e n t of w e l d i n g p r o c e d u r e s on v a r i o u s m e t a l s , a n d wi l l i n c l u d e a n X- ray r o o m a n d a m i c r o g r a p h y s e c t i o n t o d e t e r m i n e g r a i n s t r u c t u r e s of m e t a l s .

    Ca ta l ys t s a n d Chemicals , Inc., a new firm i n t h e s p e c i a l t y c h e m i c a l s a n d c a t a l y s t field, has p u r c h a s e d a p l a n t f rom M e n g e l C o . i n Lou i sv i l l e .

    D a w e ' s L a b o r a t o r i e s is i n full sca le p r o d u c t i o n on s o d i u m g l u c o n a t e t e c h n i c a l a n d g l u c o n i c a c i d t e c h n i c a l 5 0 % a t t h e i r subs id ia ry , F e r m e n t a t i o n P r o d u c t s , N e w a y g o , M i c h . T h i s m a r k s D a w e ' s first d ive r s i f i ca t ion from feed a n d p h a r m a c e u t i c a l v i t amin p r o d u c t i o n in 30 y e a r s .

    Ph i l l ips C h e m i c a l has s t a r t e d m a k i n g e t h y l e n e a t its n e w 180 m i l l i o n - p o u n d -a - y e a r p l a n t at S w e e n y , T e x . C o m p a n y says t h a t p l a n t h a s b e e n b u i l t s o p r o d u c t i o n c a n easily b e i n c r e a s e d t o 2 9 0 m i l l i o n p o u n d s a y e a r . E t h y l e n e m a d e a t S w e e n y is u s e d t o m a k e M a r l e x r ig id p o l y e t h y l e n e a t t h e c o m p a n y ' s A d a m s T e r m i n a l c h e m i c a l fac i l i t ies o n t h e H o u s t o n sh ip c h a n n e l .

    E a s t m a n C h e m i c a l P r o d u c t s p l a n s t o c o n s t r u c t a n e w office, w a r e h o u s e , a n d t a n k f a r m for its Pacific C o a s t sales r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , Wi l son a n d G e o r g e a n d C o . a n d W i l s o n M e y e r C o . T h e n e w u n i t s , s c h e d u l e d for c o m p l e t i o n in F e b . , 1 9 5 8 , wi l l be l o c a t e d i n L o s A n g e l e s .

    Elec t ro M e t a l l u r g i c a l o p e n s a n e w e n g i n e e...

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