Solutia Inc. is buying out a partner's share in a Mexican plastics joint venture for $19.6 million.
In the deal, St. Louis-based Solutia is buying Vitro Plan SA de CV's 51 percent stake in Quimica M SA de CV, a venture that makes polyvinyl butral interlayers for the glass market at a plant in Puebla, Mexico.
The acquisition enhances Solutia's position in the market for laminated glazing interlayers, President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffry Quinn said in a news release. Solutia also recently announced plans to open a PVB interlayer plant in Suzhou, China, in early 2007.
PVB interlayers are used to make laminated glass for use in autos and buildings.
Solutia will continue to supply Vitro Plan and related firms with the interlayers. Solutia also makes those products at plants in Michigan, Massachusetts, Belgium and Brazil.
Both the Mexican purchase and new Chinese plant are significant steps for Solutia, a maker of nylon resin and specialty materials, which filed for bankruptcy in late 2003.
At the time, officials cited heavy environmental legacy liabilities from its predecessor, Monsanto Co., as a reason for the filing.
Since that point, Solutia has taken steps to reduce costs and exit unprofitable businesses. The firm stopped acrylic fiber production earlier this year and recently consolidated all of its nylon industrial fiber production into a single site in Greenwood, S.C., according to spokesman Dan Hunter.
The company now said it hopes to exit bankruptcy in early to mid-2006.
``What we're doing is working,'' Hunter said.