Dow Chemical Co. will close a compounding plant in Bound Brook, N.J., by the end of July.
The move, announced May 4, will eliminate 60-70 jobs. The plant makes Unigard-brand compounds based on low density polyethylene for the wire and cable market, according to Deb Toledo, a spokeswoman for Midland, Mich.-based Dow.
Production from the Bound Brook plant - which Dow acquired when it merged with Union Carbide Corp. in 2001 - will be transferred to a plant in Seadrift, Texas, and other Dow plants in the Gulf Coast region. Sites in Freeport, Texas, and Plaquemine, La., could be among those receiving Bound Brook work, Toledo said.
Dow will continue to operate a research and development lab and administration office that employ about 250 in Bound Brook. The firm also will open a business development center there, Toledo said.
The closing is the result of a number of economic factors that worked against the Bound Brook location.
The plant primarily supplied the telecommunications market, which saw demand crash in 2001. Demand slowly is returning, but is not up to former levels, Toledo said. She added that a number of the plant's U.S.-based customers have moved production from the Northeast to the South and Southwest - forcing the Bound Brook plant to ship in LDPE from Gulf Coast sites for compounding and then ship it out to distant customers, Toledo said.
Machinery from Bound Brook will not be transferred to other Dow sites. Toledo said she was unsure what will be done with the plant's assets.
Dow recently announced it is cutting 3,000 jobs - 6 percent of its global workforce - in 2004. The firm cut 3,500 jobs in 2003.
Dow ranks as one of the world's largest PE and polystyrene makers and generates almost half of its sales from plastics-related businesses.