Eastman Chemical is selling its Batesville, Ark., plant to biofuels start-up company Viceroy Acquisition Corp. in a deal valued at more than $75 million.
The multipurpose plant manufactures specialty chemicals such as food supplements, photographic chemicals, and the bleach activator nonanoyloxybenzenesulfonate (NOBS), which is supplied to Procter & Gamble. In 2005, Eastman began rolling out agriculture-based products there including biodiesel, bioethanol, and lignin/biomass solid fuels, as well as biomass-based lubricants, solvents, and intermediates. The plant employs about 410 people.
Eastman President Jim Rogers says the plant "does not fit with the company's current strategy of driving growth in our core businesses and taking full advantage of new growth opportunities."
Eastman will receive $75 million upon the close of the deal, which is expected during the fourth quarter of this year. Viceroy will also pay Eastman 2 cents per gal for the biodiesel produced at the site for three years.
Viceroy, which is based in the U.S., raised $180 million earlier this month through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market. The company is trying to enter the U.S. biofuels market.