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Fiber World

Wellman To Restructure

Wellman Inc., Fort Mill, S.C., plans to restructure its US fiber operations in an effort to improve its operating results, and reduce overall debt and working capital. As a result, the company will close its fiber production operations in Johnsonville, S.C., and consolidate all US fiber production at its Darlington, S.C.-based Palmetto plant, which has an annual polyester fiber production capacity of 500 million pounds. Wellman also plans to sell its Material Recycling Division, a converter of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and production equipment for its specialty coarse-denier Wellstrand® fiber. The restructuring will result in the loss of some 300 jobs out of a total 550 positions in Johnsonville, according to Wellman spokesman Michael Bermish, who said the company will continue to produce nylon engineering resins in Johnsonville. The restructuring is expected to be complete by the end of 2006.

“We will be able to operate one fiber facility at close to full capacity rather than operating two underutilized facilities,” said Thomas M. Duff, chairman and CEO. “This will allow us to lower our overall costs and remain more competitive in our domestic fiber operations.”

November/December 2006