Eastman Is Selling Two PET Plants | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: September 18, 2007

Eastman Is Selling Two PET Plants

Mexican buyer moves downstream with its second purchase of a PET business from a major producer
Department: Business
plant in Zarate, Argentina, will go to Mexico???s Grupo Alfa.
Credit: Eastman
plant in Zarate, Argentina, will go to Mexico???s Grupo Alfa.
Credit: Eastman

Eastman Chemical is selling its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plants in Mexico and Argentina to the Mexican conglomerate Grupo Alfa for an undisclosed sum.

Included in the transaction, which is expected to be completed later this year, is a 150,000-metric-ton-per-year PET plant in Cosoleacaque, Veracruz, Mexico, and a 185,000-metric-ton unit in Zárate, Argentina. Eastman won???t disclose the revenues from these operations; the company???s total Latin American sales in the first half of the year were $386 million.

Alfa???s petrochemical business, Alpek, is the leading Mexican producer of purified terephthalic acid (the raw material for making PET); Eastman???s plant in Cosoleacaque, in fact, is adjacent to an Alpek PTA unit. ???This acquisition is another step forward in our strategy of reinforcing the competitive position of our businesses,??? says José de Jesús Valdez, Alpek???s president.

The deal marks Alfa???s second acquisition of a U.S.-owned PET business. In 2001, Alfa purchased DuPont???s PET resin and PTA business and renamed it DAK Americas. DAK is now starting up a 200,000-metric-ton PET plant in Cape Fear, N.C., one of the locations Alfa acquired from DuPont.

Eastman says the sale is an attempt to improve the profitability of its PET business. Earlier this year, the company sold a PET plant in San Roque, Spain, to the local firm La Seda de Barcelona. At around the same time, Eastman started up a 350,000-metric-ton PET plant in Columbia, S.C. The plant is based on the company???s IntegRex technology, which eliminates a production step known as solid stating, in which PET???s viscosity is increased to facilitate molding into containers.

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