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DAK acquires Wellman PET plant

DAK Americas (Charlotte, NC) will boost its annual polyethylene terephthalate (PET) capacity by 950 million lb (430,000 tons) by acquiring the PET business of Wellman Inc. for $185 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities. The deal is DAK's second North American PET acquisition this year.

DAK Americas (Charlotte, NC) will boost its annual polyethylene terephthalate (PET) capacity by 950 million lb (430,000 tons) by acquiring the PET business of Wellman Inc. for $185 million plus the assumption of certain liabilities. The deal is DAK's second North American PET acquisition this year. In January, it closed on the acquisition of Eastman Chemical's North American PET business, which has a combined annual capacity of 675,000 tons of PET production and 600,000 tons of terephthalic acid (PTA). At that time, Ricky Lane, director of corporate communications at DAK, told PlasticsToday that post-acquisition capacities for his company would be more than 1500 kilotons of PET and over 1100 kilotons of PTA.

The Wellman transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2011 pending regulatory approval. The deal includes Wellman's PET resin production facilities in Bay St. Louis, MS, which employ approximately 165 people. Wellman markets its PermaClear brand of PET for beverage bottles and other food packaging. On its website, Wellman describes itself as the second largest producer of PET resin in the U.S., with almost 1 billion lb of resin capacity.

ThermaClearTi, which launched in 2006, is a titanium-based, antimony-free PET specifically designed for hot-fill packaging applications. Wellman says ThermaClearTi allows converters to either lightweight or raise filling temperatures during the manufacturing process in comparison to conventional, antimony-based PET resins.

Jorge Young, executive VP DAK Americas said in a release that the new acquisition would increase DAK's efficiencies and provide added product flexibility. "DAK Americas is extremely excited about the acquisition as it will provide DAK with a state-of-the-art facility and an expanded asset base," Young said.

The new Mississippi site joins DAK's North America PET and PTA business units, with operations in Columbia and Charleston, SC; and Wilmington and Fayetteville, NC. DAK acquired Eastman's international PET operations in Mexico (Cosoleacaque) and Argentina (Zarate) in the fall of 2007. DAK Americas is wholly owned by the Mexican conglomerate, Alfa S.A.B. de C.V. (Monterrey).  

Earlier this month, M&G Group (Tortona, Italy) announced plans to build a 100,000 tonnes/yr PET plant in the U.S. That facility was expected to be online by late 2012 or early 2013, with the PET operation co-located with a new purified PTA plant, also run by M&G. The facility will be located in Texas, Mississippi or Louisiana. Wellman shuttered facilities in Darlington and Johnsonville, SC as part of its bankruptcy reorganization in 2008.

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