PET maker Wellman Inc. expects to exit bankruptcy by the end of the year and is consolidating all its manufacturing output into its Pearl River plant in Bay St. Louis, Miss.
Fort Mill, S.C.-based Wellman also is exiting its polyester staple fiber and engineering resins businesses, officials said in a Sept. 16 news release. That move is expected to lead to the closing of a fiber and resin plant in Florence, S.C.
``These actions will result in lower debt levels ... and reduced corporate costs,'' officials said in a news release. ``The combination of lower costs, improved capacity utilization and a strong capital structure will allow Wellman to profitably grow its PET business.''
Wellman's engineering resins unit includes products based on nylon 6, 6/6 and 6/6/6 as well as on post-consumer nylon. The unit also makes specialty grades of PET. Based on estimated 2008 sales, Wellman ranks as North America's fourth-largest commodity PET maker with a 12 percent market share.
Wellman already had closed a 350-employee PET fiber plant in Johnsonville, S.C., in late 2006. In early 2007, the firm sold its European PET resin and recycled fiber units, but officials said the firm lost $24 million on that transaction.
An employee count for the Florence plant was unavailable. Wellman officials could not be reached for further comment.
Officials also announced Sept. 16 that Wellman has secured $70 million in additional debt financing. The firm, which has long-term debt of almost $600 million, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. Its stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in December.
In the first half of 2008, Wellman's sales fell almost 19 percent to $521 million vs. the year-ago period. The firm posted a first-half loss of almost $34 million in 2008 after losing almost $36 million in the same period last year.