US production of bromine increased 7% to 163 kt (360 million lbs) in 1988, or about 41 % of total world production. Other major producing countries were Israel, 27%; USSR, 16%; United Kingdom, 6%; and other countries, 10%. Five domestic companies operated in Arkansas and Michigan, but only three were producers and marketers. Bromine is made into compounds that are used in agriculture, 15 %; petroleum, 20%; flame retardants, 27 %; water treatment chemicals, 9%; well drilling fluids, 10%; and other, 19%. Morton Thiokol Inc., closed its plant in Michigan. It sold the Ventron Inorganic Bromides technology to Potasse et Produits Chimiques, a bromine producing subsidiary of Rhone-Poulenc Inc. The sale included parts of the technology involved in manufacturing the bromine products, which will be sold through Rhone-Poulenc, NJ. Tetra Technologies Inc., Woodlands, TX, acquired Dow Chemical Co.' s clear brine fluids business. The sale included the 54kt/a (120 million Ibs per year) calcium bromide plant in Magnolia, AR., all patents, technology, and 15 years of brine reserves. Dow's clear brine fluids operations became part of a consent decree reached with the Department of Justice to exclude clear brine fluids from the 1986 proposed purchase of Dow's bromine business by Ethyl Corp. The other producers are Ethyl and Great Lakes Chemical Corp. They were reported to have 149 kt/a (330 million lbs per year) capacity of clear brine fluids between them. With the acquisition of Dow's Magnolia plant, Ethyl became the largest domestic producer of bromine and bromine compounds. Ethyl continued to expand plant capacity for production of a variety of brominated fire retardants. Great Lakes continued production of a variety of bromine compounds at three locations near El Dmado, AR. Great Lakes also managed a joint venture bromine operation with PPG Industries Inc., of El Dorado, AR. First Boston International announced the privatization of the state-owned Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL), a highly integrated company. It controls 25 active subsidiaries that include basic raw materials, phosphoric acid, fertilizers, and bromine and bromine compounds. The most profitable contributor was Dead Sea Bromine Ltd., a subsidiary of Dead Sea Works Ltd. Under the proposed sale, 50% of ICL would be sold directly to private investors, 4% to its employees, 20% to the public, and the government would retain 26%.