28 June 2002 15:30 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Polyester producers Eastman Chemical and Wellman announced plans Friday for an expansion project and a purchasing agreement expected to boost North American polyethylene terephthalate (PET) capacity by 247 278 tonne/year.
The expansion project is planned for Wellman's plant at Pearl River, Mississippi at a capital cost of $68m (Euro68.7m). Modification of the line there will boost Wellman's production capacity by 129 310 tonne/year by the first quarter 2004, according to the Shrewsbury, New Jersey-based company.
At the same time, Wellman and Eastman's Voridian division have signed a strategic purchasing agreement they say will add another 117 967 tonne/year to North America's PET bottle resin capacity.
Under the agreement, Wellman will provide amorphous resin capacity from converted fibre chip lines at its Palmetto, South Carolina facility while Voridian supplies solid-stating capacity from multiple North American sites.
The companies said the increased capacity will result from the matching of existing assets. But no one was immediately available at either company to elaborate.
Wellman said in a statement that its share of the capacity increase through the Mississippi project and the agreement will be 188 294 tonne/year.
Voridian and Wellman will split the PET production from the agreement and sell the resin independently.
Wellman's statement quoted its top executive, Tom Duff, as saying the deal is necessary to meet growing demand for PET in North America at a low capital cost.
Voridian is based in Kingsport, Tennessee.
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