Invista to cease production at Offenbach, cuts 280 jobs

06 February 2009 12:47  [Source: ICIS news]

Invista to stop production at Offenbach, GermanyLONDON (ICIS news)--Polyester manufacturer Invista will cease production at its Offenbach, Germany, site with the potential loss of around 280 jobs, the company said on Friday.

Plants at the site have capacities to produce 150,000 tonnes/year of dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and 210,000 tonnes/year of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins, according to ICIS plants and projects. It also has units for the production of amorphous polyester, and polyester for PET.

A sales process initiated late last year resulted in no economically viable solution, the company said in a statement sent to ICIS news on Friday.

“Despite considerable effort by everyone involved, we did not receive a satisfactory bid for the European polymer and resins business,” said Chris Hamman, president of Invista polymer and resins.

“We also evaluated several other options to continue operations at Offenbach, but none of those alternatives were economically viable, either,” he added.

The sales process, originally announced last September, included Invista’s polyester manufacturing facilities in Offenbach and Gersthofen, Germany.

Portions of the Offenbach business will be consolidated within the company’s Gersthofen facility, the company said.

“The European polymer and resins team has identified commercial, innovation, and operational strategies to improve the performance of the Gersthofen site,” said Johannes Kinkel, vice president of Invista polymer and resins for Europe and Asia.

The implications of the closure will be explored in more detail over the coming weeks as the impact becomes clearer.

One PET customer said the closure would lead to less pressure not to increase prices.

A reseller added that “this means European PET customers (especially the textile industry) will buy from Asia”.

PET prices have fallen €420-430/tonne ($553-567/tonne) from their summer peaks of 2008, dropping to €770-850/tonne FD (free delivered) Europe in January 2009, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Producers were determined to recover increasing production costs and recuperate some margin, and have targeted price increases of more than €100/tonne for February business.

Products produced at the Offenbach site are used for technical, film and packaging in applications in various sectors, such as drinking bottles, automobile parts, yarns, electric parts and housing.

($1 = €0.78)

Caroline Howard contributed to this article
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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
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