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DAK closing Cape Fear PET plant

By: Frank Esposito

June 20, 2013

DAK Americas will close its site making PET resin and related products in Wilmington, N.C., by September in a move that will reduce North American PET oversupply. The shutdown also will eliminate 600 jobs.

Charlotte N.C.-based DAK has owned the site — known as the Cape Fear plant — since 2001, when it was purchased from DuPont Co. The plant was opened in the 1960s and makes PET, purified terephthalic acid and polyester staple fiber. The site has 440 million pounds of PET capacity.

The 600 job cuts include 350 DAK employees and 250 contractors.

The decision to close the plant "is very difficult for our employees," DAK President Jorge Young said in a June 19 news release. "We thank them for their dedication and commitment to our industry for more than 40 years."

Young added that the closure "will allow [DAK] to further improve our low-cost position by supplying the vast majority of our Cape Fear site customers from our other North American facilities."

DAK's remaining North American production sites include U.S. plants in Fayetteville, N.C.; Bay St. Louis, Miss.; and Charleston and Columbia S.C., as well as a plant in Cosoleacaque, Mexico.

DAK is a unit of industrial conglomerate Alpek SAB de CV of Monterrey, Mexico.

The move will alleviate some pressure from a North American PET field that's oversupplied by more than 2 billion pounds, according to some market watchers. In spite of this oversupply, M&G Group and others have announced plans to add capacity.

DAK has announced no such plans, but earlier this year, parent firm Alpek bought the rights to 900 million pounds of PET capacity at a plant that M&G plans to build in Corpus Christi, Texas. That plant is scheduled to open in 2016.