A group of creditors has asked a bankruptcy judge to close Borden Chemicals and Plastics LP's 475 million-pound-per-year PVC plant in Geismar, La.
Judge Peter Walsh will consider the issue March 13 at a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.
``If [Walsh] thinks that operating the plant is wasting the assets of the estate, he can close it,'' Borden spokesman Patrick Gallagher said.
Closing the Geismar plant, which employs 200, would have an impact on North American PVC supply. Assuming an operating rate of 80 percent, the plant represented about 3 percent of North American PVC production last year. The site also produces 550 million pounds of PVC feedstock vinyl chloride monomer.
Geismar-based Borden filed for bankruptcy in April 2001, citing a critical debt and liquidity situation caused by lower resin prices and higher energy costs. The firm lost $84 million in 2000 and another $37 million in the first quarter of 2001. Full-year results for 2001 were unavailable.
The creditors' committee includes Pontchartrain Natural Gas, Shell Chemicals LP and PPG Industries Inc. The three were among the largest of about 50 unsecured creditors at the time of Borden's bankruptcy filing, according to Gallagher.
Oxy Vinyls LP of Dallas - which competes with Borden in the PVC market and had supplied VCM to Borden's recently sold PVC site in Addis, La. - was a member of the committee until late late year, an Oxy Vinyls official said. The firm no longer is involved in any of Borden's bankruptcy proceedings, the official added.
Borden recently completed the sale of the Addis plant to rival Shintech Inc. of Houston. Borden also continues to operate a PVC plant in Illiopolis, Ill.
Both the Geismar and Illiopolis plants remain for sale, but Gallagher said the Illiopolis plant has attracted more interest, probably because it makes specialty resins used in vinyl flooring, compared with the commodity grades for the construction market made in Geismar.