DuPont Co. has agreed to sell its Invista fibers business to Koch Industries Inc. for $4.4 billion in cash.
In an unrelated move, DuPont also is cutting 150 jobs from its Teflon-brand fluoropolymer plant in Parkersburg, W. Va., via transfers and retirement.
The fibers unit - which includes the Lycra and Stainmaster brands - generated sales of $6.3 billion in 2002, representing about 25 percent of total sales for Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont. In February 2002, DuPont had announced plans to sell or spin off the unit, including polyester and nylon fibers, in order to focus on core businesses.
The deal does not include DuPont's polyester and nylon resin businesses.
Wichita, Kan.-based Koch also owns PET maker Kosa Inc. of Houston, which also is a major polyester fiber producer.
``By combining Invista's many capabilities and strong brands ... with the polyester business of [Koch's] Kosa subsidiaries, we will create a diverse company, well-positioned to compete in the global fibers and resins markets,'' Koch Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles Koch said in a Nov. 17 news release.
The deal includes DuPont's adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine assets, which are key raw materials used to produce DuPont's nylon 6/6 resins.
Koch is expected to continue to supply those materials for DuPont's market-leading nylon 6/6 business, DuPont spokesman Irv Lipp said.
No decision has been made as to whether Kosa will be fully merged and operate under the Invista name, according to Koch spokeswoman Mary Beth Jarvis. Invista is substantially larger than Kosa, with $6.3 billion in sales compared with Kosa's estimated $3 billion.
Invista also has 18,000 employees, vs. Kosa's 6,000. Kosa will supply Invista with a portion of its polyester resin needs, Jarvis added.
The move affected DuPont's plastics businesses even before it was done. In preparation for the sale, DuPont last year placed its nylon 6/6 resin, acetal, specialty polyester and copolyester businesses - as well as its shares in DuPont Dow Elastomers and DuPont Teijin Films U.S. LP - into its performance materials unit.
DuPont also moved its fluoropolymers business into its electronics and communication technologies unit.
In Parkersburg, DuPont will move 150 jobs during the next 18 months. The firm cited global overcapacity in fluoropolymers and softness in telecommunications and other sectors as reasons for the move, which will reduce the plant's employee count by almost one-third.
At the same time, DuPont is expanding the capacity of some equipment at the site, according to spokeswoman Diane Shomper. The plant's net resin output will not be affected, Shomper said.
The Parkersburg Teflon plant is the largest of three DuPont operates worldwide. The firm also produces nylon resin and other chemical products at facilities there.