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U.S. companies are doing a surprisingly good job of working around the problem of rising energy prices, but for Cabot Corp., a $2.6-billion specialty chemicals company, the issue is especially challenging. Its key business is carbon black, a material made from oil feedstock, and like most manufacturers, Cabot has no control over the global price for crude oil that is essential to operating its carbon black business, which represents two-thirds of the company’s revenues.

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