BASF Corp. will stop production of its Ultraform-brand acetal in Theodore, Ala., in the second half of 2002.
Mount Olive-based BASF said it would continue to provide acetal to its North American and South American customers through a tolling agreement with Ticona, the world's largest acetal maker.
BASF, the North American unit of BASF AG of Ludwigshafen, Germany, said only five jobs would be affected by the Theodore shutdown, since the acetal unit is part of a larger chemical plant owned by Degussa AG of Frankfurt, Germany. The other 100 acetal workers are Degussa employees and probably will be transferred to other jobs at the site, BASF spokesman David Elliott said.
Some of the acetal plant's equipment will be dismantled and sold, while some of it will be transferred to other BASF sites, Elliott added. BASF acquired full ownership of the plant in 1999 when it dissolved a 10-year-old joint venture with Degussa.
``Sales were down in 2001 and current market conditions aren't good,'' Elliott said. ``Based on that, we needed a change in our model.''
Ticona spokeswoman Ann Freschette said Ticona and BASF compete in some of the same markets for acetal, but added that it was not that unusual for a chemicals firm to do tolling work for a competitor.
``It happens fairly often in the industry,'' Freschette said. ``A lot of times your competitors are also your customers.''
Ticona - the Summit, N.J.-based technical polymers unit of Celanese AG of Frankfurt - is expected to supply BASF from its acetal plant in Bishop, Texas. BASF will continue to produce acetal at a plant in Ludwigshafen.