InterviewEastman to produce 60,000 t/y of Tritan copolyester for 2012

11 May 2011 18:34  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--US producer Eastman Chemicals has doubled its capacity for its Tritan copolyester, producing 60,000 tonnes/year for 2012, company officials said on Wednesday.

Eastman Chemical plans to expand its Tritan capacity at its Kingsport site in Tennessee, said Mark Costa, chief marketing officer and executive vice president for Eastman’s specialty polymers, coatings and adhesives segments.

“The first 30,000 tonnes of capacity we built for Tritan we started it out January 2010 and it was sold out by the end of 2010,” said Costa.

“We are rushing to have ready another 30,000 tonnes which will be ready in the first quarter of 2012 - a total of 60,000 tonnes,” he added.

The company is also planning to expand its capacity for cellulose triacetate by 75% at the site by implementing new technology.

Eastman will expand its cyclohexane dimethanol (CHDM) capacity by 25% at the Tennessee plant and is expected to be ready by the fall of this year. The chemical is an intermediate used to make several of Eastman's specialty copolyesters.

At Eastman's first quarter earnings conference, company CEO, Jim Rogers said that Eastman expected to make two or three small-to-medium sized acquisitions this year.

“If you look at where we are, we have four businesses doing well, producing a lot of cash, we have the cash generated from the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) business and we have a strong balance sheet at the moment, the cash that we have available and the debt – so we are in a good position. We are pushing hard on a couple of our organic expansions,” Costa said.

Meanwhile, Costa said that Eastman was benefitting from the spread between propane and propylene as propylene prices continue to rise.

“It’s supply driven not just demand driven. I think for the second half of the year we would expect some moderation to propylene prices from where they are in April/May but not dropping to where they have been on a historical basis," he added.

“We’ve seen a dramatic development in the US when it comes to propylene, the propylene prices have gone up dramatically,” Costa said.

For more on Eastman visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Tanzeel Akhtar
+44 208 652 3214

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