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India's Tata Chemicals Ltd. has agreed to buy U.S.-based General Chemical Industrial Products Inc. for $1-billion (U.S.), company officials said yesterday, a move that will make it one of world's largest producers of a chemical used to make glass. General Chemical Industrial Products is a major producer of soda ash, or sodium carbonate. The company has a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes a year. The acquisition will lead to a sizable increase in Tata Chemicals' global soda ash holdings, making it one of the largest soda ash producers worldwide, the company said in a statement. The merger will give Tata Chemicals access to markets in North America, Latin America and the Far East, adding to its existing markets, the statement said.

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