DALLAS - A severely declining market for phenolic molding compounds has forced Occidental Chemical Corp.'s Durez Division to close its production facility in North Tonawanda, N.Y. ``Since the mid-1970s, there has been a 60 percent decline in the U.S. phenolic molding compound market due to material substitution, foreign competition and downsizing of appliance and automotive components,'' Leslie J. Story, executive vice president of OxyChem's specialty business group, said in a news release.
The plant, which produces phenolic molding compounds, employs 150. OxyChem said it will attempt to place some North Tonawanda employees elsewhere in the company's Western New York operations. For the remainder, it will provide full wages and benefits for 60 days and outplacement assistance. Salaried and hourly workers also are eligible for company severance benefits.
Story said the North Tonawanda plant has been unprofitable for several years, and that its age and physical layout are additional obstacles to profitability. The facility was built in the 1920s.
Material substitutions - such as filled polypropylene, polyester bulk molding compound and urea formaldehyde - have had an impact on the Durez plant, said Kenneth Haseley, an OxyChem spokesman.
Durez will continue to operate its plants in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Kenton, Ohio. Outside the United States, Durez has pro-duction facilities in Canada and Belgium.
The company also has joint-venture operations in Singapore and Japan.
Durez resins and molding compounds are used in various applications in the automotive, housing, aerospace, appliance and coating and adhesive industries.