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Empire won't get $50 million investment

DELRAY BEACH, FLA. — Toy producer Empire of Carolina Inc. said April 23 that EDT Toys LLC does not intend to invest $50 million in the financially troubled Delray Beach-based firm.

Empire's announcement came a week before a deadline for it to come up with $6 million owed under a senior loan agreement. The firm said it is evaluating other financial and strategic alternatives but could not ensure that it will be able to finance operations after April 30. Its options include renewing discussions with other companies that might be interested in investing in Empire or buying assets.

EDT earlier agreed to buy convertible stock and debentures that it could change into a majority of Empire's common stock. EDT is a subsidiary of Knowledge Universe LLC, a Los Angeles company with interests in education firms, and in employee, training and staffing companies. It had been conducting due diligence on Empire.

Intertape considers Utah for film plant

MONTREAL — Intertape Polymer Group Inc. is eyeing Utah as a potential location for a plastic film plant, according to government officials.

The Montreal firm is looking at Tremonton and Ogden, Utah, and Phoenix for a new shrink film operation, said Len Wooley, director of Box Elder County Department of Economic Development. Tremonton is in Box Elder County in northwest Utah.

Intertape officials declined comment on the project but said they might make a decision in a few weeks.

Utah's Department of Community and Economic Development offered a $200,000 loan to Intertape as an incentive to locate in Tremonton, according to Richard Nelson, administrator for the department's Industrial Assistance Fund. If Intertape does build a plant there and employs at least 70, the loan would become a grant.

Wooley said in a telephone interview that Intertape could spend about $21 million on building and equipping a 100,000-square-foot facility.

Intertape produces shrink wrap and other flexible packaging, sealing tape, intermediate bulk packaging, dairy cases and other industrial handling and packaging products. It had sales of C$271.3 million (US$194 million) and profit of C$28.6 million (US$20.4 million) for the year ended Dec. 31.

Amoco Polymers bolsters PP capacity

CHICAGO — Amoco Polymers plans to add 500 million pounds of polypropylene capacity at its chemical plant near Alvin, Texas.

The expansion, which will bring Amoco's total North American PP capacity to about 2.2 billion pounds per year, is scheduled to be up and running by early 1999.

The cost of the project, which will add about 40 employees at the plant, was not announced.

In a separate move, Amoco Chemical Europe has moved forward with the debottlenecking of its PP plant in Geel, Belgium. The project will increase the annual capacity of the plant's new gas-phase impact copolymer unit to 560 million pounds by mid-1998 and bring Amoco's total Western Europe PP capacity to 980 million pounds per year.

Current capacity at the 7-month-old Geel plant is 400 million pounds per year. Amoco Polymers of Alpharetta, Ga., is a unit of Amoco Corp. of Chicago.

Hoechst, Fina sign metallocene pact

FRANKFURT, GERMANY — Hoechst AG of Frankfurt and Fina Technology Inc. of Dallas have announced a joint agreement that will allow both companies to use each other's patents to develop their own polyolefin businesses and also will allow Hoechst to manufacture metallocene catalysts under Fina patents.

The agreement also provides for a future metallocene catalyst supply relationship between Fina and Hoechst, under which Hoechst would supply Fina with developed metallocene catalysts.

The agreement is nonexclusive with the exceptions of syndiotactic polypropylene and cyclo-olefin polymers.

Hoechst officials said the agreement will strengthen the company's position in developing and marketing its drop-in metallocene technology in PP and other areas.

Hoechst, which has been in the metallocene field since 1985, has existing metallocene agreements with Mitsui Petrochemical Industries Ltd. of Tokyo and Exxon Chemical Co. of Houston.