Company Briefs: GE to sell biopharma business for $21.4B

Acquisitions, expansions and milestones from around the process industries

GE plans to sell its BioPharma business to Danaher for approximately $21.4 billion. Image courtesy of GE
GE plans to sell its BioPharma business to Danaher for approximately $21.4 billion. Image courtesy of GE

GE plans to sell its BioPharma business to Danaher for approximately $21.4 billion. The BioPharma business, which is part of GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences division, generated approximately $3 billion in revenue last year. The deal will establish the business as a stand-alone company within Danaher’s existing Life Sciences platform and give it access to additional resources to grow, according to a GE press release.

The BioPharma unit manufactures equipment and special resins that help pharmaceutical companies discover and mass produce biopharmaceuticals like Humira, Remicade and Rituxan, which are designed to fight autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. According to GE, it is also helping vaccine developers and researchers explore immunotherapy. This emerging type of treatment uses viruses and other tools to reprogram and harness the body’s immune cells to help the immune system detect and kill cancer and other diseases.

GE said GE Healthcare would retain the second key part of GE’s Life Sciences business Pharmaceutical Diagnostics, a unit developing contrast media used by radiologists.

The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.

SABIC pioneers first production of certified circular polymers

SABIC announced another milestone in its project to pioneer the production of certified circular polymers using a feedstock from mixed plastic waste. The latest achievement — the production of the first certified circular polymers — is part of what is known as a "market foundation stage." Launched in January, SABIC said this stage is an important step toward creating a new circular value chain for plastics, during which initial volumes of pyrolysis oil from plastic waste are introduced as feedstock at SABIC’s Geleen production site in The Netherlands. The patented pyrolysis oil has been produced by PLASTIC ENERGY from the recycling of low-quality, mixed plastic waste otherwise destined for incineration or landfill.

As part of the market foundation stage, SABIC has begun to produce and commercialize the first monthly volumes of certified circular polymers — polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) — prior to the projected startup in 2021 of the commercial plants planned by SABIC and PLASTIC ENERGY in the Netherlands to manufacture and process the alternative feedstock.

The polymers are certified through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification plus (ISCC+) scheme that certifies circular content and standards across the value chain from source to end product. The ISCC+ certification works on what is known as a "mass balance system," meaning that for each tonne of circular feedstock fed into the cracker and substituting fossil-based feedstock, a tonne of the output can be classified as circular.

Acquisitions, Expansions & Partnerships

DuPont Sustainable Solutions to become independent consulting firm

DowDuPont Specialty Products division will divest its DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS) business to create a new, independent global operations management consulting firm. The new firm will be led and operated by existing DSS management and supported by Gyrus Capital, an investment firm based in Geneva, Switzerland.

DSS will retain the rights to intellectual property related to the services it sells and will have continued access to the DuPont Sustainable Solutions name, the DuPont logo, knowledge, sites, capabilities and resources for a period of time.

The transaction is expected to close in July 2019 pending the completion of all closing conditions.

DuPont Sustainable Solutions has more than 600 consultants and subject matter experts worldwide, serving clients in over 60 countries.

SPX appoints new distributor in New England

SPX FLOW appointed Lighthouse Process as its new distributor in New England territories for its Waukesha Cherry-Burrell, APV components and Seital Separation product lines. Lighthouse Process is a new company with a focus on providing efficient customer service through online purchase of process equipment and spares.

Lighthouse Process will work with customers in the New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. It will hold inventory at its facility in Franklin, Massachusetts, to enable rapid deliveries of critical SPX FLOW spares and products into the dairy, food and beverage processing market.

Rockwell Automation and Schlumberger join to create automation solutions provider for the oil and gas industry

Rockwell Automation, an industrial automation and information company, and Schlumberger, which provides reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing to the oil and gas industry, entered into an agreement to create a new joint venture, Sensia, the first fully integrated digital oil field automation solutions provider.

The transaction is expected to close, and the joint venture is expected to begin serving customers, in the summer of 2019.

Sensia will offer scalable, cloud and edge-enabled process automation, including information and process safety solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sensia will operate as an independent entity, with Rockwell Automation owning 53 percent and Schlumberger owning 47 percent of the joint venture. Sensia is expected to generate annual revenue of $400 million, and will employ approximately 1,000 team members serving customers in more than 80 countries, with global headquarters in Houston, Texas.

As part of the transaction, Rockwell Automation will make a $250 million payment to Schlumberger at closing, which will be funded by cash on hand.

Ultra Consultants launches food safety advisory services with Kestrel Management

Ultra Consultants Inc., an independent research and solutions consulting firm for the manufacturing and distribution industries, and Kestrel Management, a consulting firm that helps companies achieve food safety regulatory and certification standard requirements, have joined to provide food safety compliance and remediation advisory services to North American food and beverage processors.

Feeding system technology provider RNA takes over part of Nexolink Solutions AG

Rhein-Nadel Automation GmbH (RNA) has acquired all assets of the former start-up Nexolink Solutions AG regarding the Sensor Connector, a device that gathers data and conditions of a machine with the help of sensors. The deal includes all intellectual property rights for the devices and IoT platform as well as laboratory equipment and stock. RNA will market the IoT platform and Sensor Connector under the name IoT ConnectBox. With its new IoT ConnectBox, RNA is now able to offer an IoT platform together with its feeding systems to analyze data such as frequency, temperature, output rate and other values with the objective to also offer a predictive maintenance solution.

Kistler Group opens new sales center in Mississauga, Canada

The Kistler Group, a provider of measurement technology, opened a new sales center in Mississauga, Canada. The new location serves to advise and support customers as well as manage sales in Canada.

Global leaders in the aircraft manufacturing industry as well as in the weigh-in-motion businesses located in Canada have already partnered with Kistler. The measurement expert will provide valuable aircraft and space testing expertise and additional services. As a full measuring chain supplier, Kistler offers signal conditioning, data acquisition and engineering know-how to its wide portfolio of sensors.

tna opens new hub in Dubai

tna, a global supplier of integrated food processing and packaging solutions, opened a new office and training facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The new hub provides local food manufacturers with a range of new aftermarket services, including enhanced technical support and easier access to spare parts. The new site also incorporates a training and demonstration center.

Awards, certifications & milestones

SCHWING Group celebrates 50 years

SCHWING, a manufacturer of eco-friendly thermal cleaning systems for plastic and fiber-contaminated tools and machine parts, celebrates the company’s 50th anniversary this year. Company founder Ewald Schwing started the company in Duisburg in February 1969. To this day, he is active as a managing director of the company. The entire SCHWING Group now includes SCHWING Innovation (Holding Company), SCHWING Technologies (Thermal Cleaning Technology), SCHWING Verfahrenstechnik (Process Measurement Technology) and the recently founded SCHWING Technologies North America Inc.

Hawk Measurement attains gas and dust approval certification with its Centurion Guided Radar system

Hawk Measurement Systems (HAWK), which provides measurement solutions, has been awarded explosion-proof, flame-proof and dust-ignition-proof certification by FM Approvals for FM, FM Canada and ATEX standards.

The company’s Centurion Guided Radar is a continuous level measurement instrument that uses guided-wave technology that sends a radar pulse down a probe to measure either liquids, solids or a low dielectric to high dielectric interface level. The pulse hits the surface and is reflected back up the probe to the sensor, where the transit time is translated into a distance using time of fight and time expansion.

Precision Associates Inc. wins Manufacturer of the Year Award

The Manufacturers Alliance recognized Precision Associates Inc. (PAI) as the 2019 Manufacturer of the Year in the mid-size company category. PAI provides sealing solutions and precision-molded rubber products.

Companies nominated for the Manufacturer of the Year award are recognized for sharing information and continuous improvement that strengthens the Minnesota manufacturing community. Examples of such participation include manufacturing-related education seminars, plant tours for peers, technical articles and peer mentoring groups.

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