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December 2, 2002
Volume 80, Number 48
CENEAR 80 48 p. 13
ISSN 0009-2347


CONSOLIDATION

Chemical Operations On The Move

ALEX TULLO

Four chemical companies are shutting down units and relocating operations. In three of the cases, jobs are being cut.

BP Solvay Polyethylene says it will close 260 million lb per year of high-density polyethylene capacity at its Deer Park, Texas, facility in the first half of 2003. The company will replace the capacity with a 700 million-lb plant it is building in partnership with Chevron Phillips Chemical in Cedar Bayou, Texas. It hasn’t determined how many jobs will be lost.

Eastman Chemical is moving a coatings technology center from Carpentersville, Ill., to its Kingsport, Tenn., headquarters. The company says there will be 50 to 60 fewer jobs in Carpentersville, although 40 jobs will move to Kingsport. Manufacturing will continue at the Carpentersville site, which came with Eastman’s 2000 purchase of McWhorter Technologies.

Sovereign Specialty Chemicals is closing a waterborne adhesives plant in Cincinnati that employs 118 people. The company is moving production to Greenville, S.C., and Carol Stream and Plainfield, Ill., over the next nine months. Sovereign is also stopping waterborne and hot-melt adhesives production in Kapellen, Belgium.

And the 1.25 billion-lb-per-year methanol unit in Fortier, La., that Methanex idled in March 1999 is probably down for good; the company is taking an after-tax charge of $86 million in the fourth quarter to write it off. Last month, Methanex announced it is building a 1.8 billion-lb methanol plant in Punta Arenas, Chile, where it already has more than 6 billion lb of methanol capacity.



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