CLEVELAND (May 8)—M.A. Hanna Co. and Geon Co. are merging to form a new Cleveland-based company. Hanna CEO, President and Chairman Philip Ashkettle will be chairman and CEO of the new firm while Geon CEO and Chairman Thomas Waltermire will be president and COO. Both companies will provide equal numbers of directors to the new company´s board. The transaction will create a $3.5 billion company in a stock-for-stock swap. The combination should result in $50 million in annual operating earnings improvements by 2002, the companies said.