Dow Chemical Co. has opted to shut down its polyurethane-based foam insulation plant in Elizabethtown, Ky.
The 16-employee site, which makes foam for commercial roofing, will close its doors by early August, Dow spokeswoman Leslie Hatfield said June 5.
Three of the five product lines produced in Elizabethtown are being discontinued in the region east of the Rocky Mountains. Customers who had sourced the remaining two products from the Elizabethtown plant, which Dow acquired from Celotex Corp. in 2001, now will receive material from similar plants in Pennsauken, N.J.; Texarkana, Ark.; Tracy, Calif.; or Charleston, Ill.
``A financial analysis concluded that the products made in Elizabethtown did not meet Dow's financial expectations,'' officials said in a news release. ``That situation was not expected to change in the foreseeable future.''
Earlier this year, Midland, Mich.-based Dow announced plans to cut as many as 4,000 jobs in 2003 to improve its financial performance. The firm, one of the world's largest plastics and chemicals makers, posted a loss of $622 million in 2002.
Dow cut 1,200 jobs globally - about 2.4 percent of its total work force - in the first quarter, via several methods including retirement and job attrition connected to Dow's 2000 merger with Union Carbide Corp. Dow also cut 125 manufacturing jobs in Midland and closed a PET plant in Pisticci, Italy. Additionally, the firm plans to close ethylene crackers in Seadrift, La., and Texas City, Texas, by the end of the year.
Things improved somewhat for Dow in the first quarter of 2003, as higher selling prices for its products drove sales up almost 29 percent to $8.1 billion vs. the year-ago period. Dow's plastics and performance plastics units, which made up more than 47 percent of first-quarter sales, enjoyed a combined sales boost of about 26 percent.
Pretax profit in those areas climbed almost 48 percent to $273 million, although Dow's overall corporate profit dropped 28 percent to $76 million.