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DuPont To Exit Polyester Staple Business Key Segment Will Be Sold To Alpek

DuPont To Exit Polyester Staple Business;Key Segment Will Be Sold To AlpekAlpek, the petrochemical group of Mexican industrial conglomerate ALFA, S.A. de C.V. (ALFA) and Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont announced an agreement whereby DuPont will sell a major portion of its polyester raw-materials business to Alpek. Included in the sale will be DuPonts terephthalic acid plant located at Cape Fear, N.C.; a PET container resin plant at Cedar Creek, N.C.; polyester polymerization facilities at Cape Fear and Cooper River, S.C., capable of producing PET resin; and a license to use DuPont manufacturing technology for PET resins.DuPont also plans to exit the polyester staple fiber joint venture that it formed with Alpek in 1999. Alpek expects to become sole owner by mid-2002, taking over facilities at the Cape Fear and Cooper River sites.The combined businesses Alpek is acquiring will be united into one company, DAK Americas, which will be headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. Hector Camberos has been appointed president.In making the announcement, Jose de Jesus (Pepe) Valdez, president, Alpek, noted the acquisitions will enable Alpek to consolidate its market position in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region, becoming one of the largest producers worldwide of raw materials for polyester, with a capacity of approximately two million metric tons annually.Craig Binetti, vice president and general manager, DuPont, said DuPont will remain in the polyester filament business. A manufacturing alliance with Greensboro, N.C.-based Unifi Inc. will continue until the year 2005. The alliance comprises a joint operations and sales agreement whereby each company shares equally in costs and profits. The arrangement has flexible assets and is driven by the development of new products.Alpek is one of the largest private petrochemicals companies in Latin America. In 2000 the company reported sales of $1,754 million.By Virginia S. Borland, New York Correspondent August 2001