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Eastman Sells PET, PTA Businesses To DAK Americas

Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., has agreed to sell its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) businesses and the related Performance Polymers assets and technology to DAK Americas LLC, Charlotte. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year, with cash proceeds totaling $600 million. The deal includes three integrated petrochemical plants in South Carolina that employ 415 people and have a total annual capacity of 1.275 million tons. DAK also will obtain intellectual property of the IntegRex™ PTA and PET technology and access to the businesses’ customer base.

“This acquisition of Eastman’s PET business will provide DAK with a strong position in PET resin for packaging and other uses, but also will reinforce their supply position into the carpet industry,” said industry analyst Alasdair Carmichael, president, PCI Fibres-Americas, Spartanburg.  “The carpet industry has rapidly increased its consumption of polyester bulked continuous filament (BCF) in recent years, and the ‘chip’ source used for this has been a PET resin chip rather than a regular polyester fiber chip, because PET resin has a higher intrinsic viscosity. Much of the initial work to develop polyester BCF was done using Eastman PET resin, and the eventual success achieved ensured that PET resin, rather than fiber chip, became the industry standard. DAK has been active in the carpet market with PET resin supplies and also PSF for carpet spinning. The expectation is that a portion of this flake will be used in the production of polyester BCF,” he said.

November/December 2010