Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Co. — a manufacturer of fibers, chemicals and plastics —
has agreed to sell its polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA)
businesses and the related assets and technology of its Performance Polymers segment to
Charlotte-based DAK Americas LLC — a producer of polyester staple fibers (PSF), PET resins and PTA
monomers, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Mexico-based Alfa S.A.B. de C.V. The transaction, which
is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010, with cash
proceeds totaling $600 million.
The acquisition includes three integrated petrochemical plants in South Carolina — one
producing PTA and the other two producing PET — that employ 415 people and have a total annual
capacity of 1.275 million tons. Alfa estimates that during the first half of 2010, the plants
realized $405 million in sales revenues and $46 million in pro-forma earnings before interest,
taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
DAK also will obtain intellectual property of the IntegRex™ PTA and PET technology along with
access to the business’ customer base.
“This strategic acquisition reinforces our presence in the North American PTA and PET
markets, where we supply some of the most important companies in consumer segments such as
beverage, food and personal care, which have traditionally been resilient to economic cycles,” said
Armando Garza Sada, chairman of the Board, Alfa. “With this acquisition, we demonstrate once again
our commitment to the PTA and PET value chains.”
According to industry analyst Alasdair Carmichael, president of Spartanburg-based PCI
Fibres-Americas, the acquisition also will have implications for the carpet industry. “The PCI
Group estimates that, after the acquisition is completed, DAK will be the largest producer of PET
resin in North America with a 41-percent share of U.S. capacity, and also will be the largest
polyester producer in the Americas,” Carmichael said. “This acquisition of Eastman’s PET business
will provide DAK with a strong position in PET resin for packaging and other uses, but also will
reinforce their supply position into the carpet industry.
“The carpet industry has rapidly increased its consumption of polyester bulked continuous
filament (BCF) in recent years, and the ‘chip’ source used for this has been a PET resin chip
rather than a regular polyester fiber chip, because PET resin has a higher intrinsic viscosity.
Much of the initial work to develop polyester BCF was done using Eastman PET resin, and the
eventual success achieved ensured that PET resin, rather than fiber chip, became the industry
standard. DAK has been active in the carpet market with PET resin supplies and also PSF for carpet
spinning,” he said, noting the company’s recent joint venture with Shaw to produce recycled flake,
or chip, from bottles
Shaw Form PET Recycling JV,” May/June 2009). “The expectation is that a portion of this
flake will be used in the production of polyester BCF,” he added.
October 26, 2010