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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Huntsman Chemical Corp. and Dow Chemical Co. have launched their Australian polystyrene joint venture, Polystyrene Australia Pty. Ltd.

The new Melbourne-based firm, which started operations Jan. 1, covers the marketing and distribution of general-purpose and high-impact polystyrene in Australia and New Zealand.

Huntsman and Dow announced plans for the merger last year after gaining approval from both companies' North American parents and Australia's Canberra-based corporate watchdog, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

The merged group aims to streamline marketing and distribution services and combat growing competition in Australia and New Zealand from Asian imports.

Melbourne-based Huntsman Chemical Co. Australia Ltd. is managed and 50 percent owned by Huntsman Chemical Corp. of Salt Lake City. Melbourne-based Dow Chemical (Australia) Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich.

Noel Godfrey has been named Polystyrene Australia's general manager.