The number of job cuts resulting from Sunoco Inc.'s acquisition of Aristech Chemical Corp. might not be as high as the total cited in a recent published report, Sunoco officials said.
A Dec. 23 Associated Press story claims that about 100 Aristech management and staff support personnel will lose their jobs in the next 60 days because of the acquisition, which will be effective Jan. 1. The story quotes Aristech general counsel Matthew Cairone, who could not be reached for comment Dec. 29.
Sunoco spokesman Jerry Davis said Dec. 29 by telephone that the firm has not released the number of job cuts it will make.
"Some people are leaving at the end of the year and some are still needed," Davis said. "To say 100 people will be laid off isn't the case."
Davis added that the "transition period" following the deal is expected to last through February.
In the $695 million transaction, Sunoco, a Philadelphia-based oil refiner with annual sales of about $10 billion, will acquire Pittsburgh-based Aristech, including its polypropylene, phenol and plasticizer businesses, from Mitsubishi Corp. of Tokyo.
Aristech Acrylics LLC of Florence, Ky., and Avonite Inc. of Belen, N.M., are not included in the deal.
Aristech posted sales of $786 million in 1999, but lost $35 million because of lower sales volume and high raw-material costs. The firm had equaled that loss through the first six months of 2000, even though sales were a healthy $516 million.
Sunoco may combine Aristech's PP assets with those of its Epsilon Products/C3 Polymers LLC joint venture, allowing Sunoco to challenge Atofina Petrochemicals Inc. for the No. 4 spot in the North American PP market. Sunoco's supply of propylene feedstocks may improve the financial strength of Aristech's PP unit.