CHICAGO — As Rexene Corp. promoted new product lines at NPE 1997, company officials offered assurances its services would be unaffected by the recent merger in which Rexene was purchased by Huntsman Corp.
``Communication channels are just opening up between the two companies,'' said Monte Edlund, Rexene's vice president of marketing. ``But we were acquired for our manufacturing and marketing expertise and we don't expect that to change.''
In a June 18 interview at NPE in Chicago, Edlund said Huntsman officials have already advised Rexene to proceed with additional capital expansion plans and indicated it wanted to retain Rexene's technical and research and development operations.
Huntsman officials previously said the move will have no effect on Rexene's 1,300 manufacturing employees. Other personnel decisions are pending, officials said.
After 10 months of purchase attempts and negotiations, Huntsman of Salt Lake City acquired Rexene of Dallas for $600 million June 9. About half of that amount is Rexene debt, Huntsman officials said.
The merger gives Huntsman, which claims to be the largest privately held chemical company in the United States, a foothold in the polyethylene industry. Rexene produces 420 million pounds of low density PE annually and broke ground on a 220 million-pound linear LDPE plant in Odessa, Texas, in April.
The acquisition is not dampening Rexene's enthusiasm for its Rexflex-brand flexible polyolefins, showcased at NPE.
Rexflex FPOs combine the heat resistance, processing ease and strength of polypropylene with the softness and flexibility of polyethylene and ethylene vinyl acetate polymers, the company said. The line has medical applications in bags and tubing and auto applications in interiors and instrument panel skins, said polymers marketing director Joe Bonk.
``Because they're primarily polypropylene they can have different flexibilities,'' Bonk said in a June 18 interview at NPE 1997.
Production of Rexflex began in January and is expected to reach 75 million pounds per year.