CORPORATIONS: From Corn to Gas

Deep in the Illinois farm country, 150 miles south of Chicago, more than 200 industrialists, bankers, engineers and newsmen gathered at little (pop. 3,000) Tuscola last week for the dedication of a $50 million, 500-acre petrochemical plant. Where corn stalks had rustled only two years before, giant cylindrical storage tanks marched row on row; instead of silos, towering fractionation columns glistened in the sun. The new chemical complex to make dozens of products from natural gas was startling in another way. It is 60% owned by the second-largest U.S. liquor company—National...