News In Brief
Cold weather and a hike in crude-oil costs sent gasoline prices up more than 3 cents per gallon over a two-week period ending last Friday, the California-based Lundberg Survey reported. The weighted pump price, including all grades and taxes, averaged $1.367 per gallon. The survey of 10,000 stations nationwide found a jump of more than 9 cents a gallon in the Midwest and about a nickel in the Northeast. In the West, where less crude had to be diverted for the production of home heating oil, prices fell by about a penny. In a separate report, the American Automobile Association said gas prices nationally are an average of 31 cents a gallon higher than in January of last year.
Two years after the collapse of merger plans between specialty chemicals giants Clariant and Ciba, the former announced it's trying again to link up with a competitor. In Basel, Switzerland, Clariant officials said they have offered $1.8 billion for Manchester, England-based BTP. Specialty chemicals are used to enhance the durability, color, feel, and performance of a vast range of consumer products. The Clariant-Ciba merger fell through in December 1998 because of regulatory concerns.
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