Solutia Inc. has laid off more than 500 workers at three U.S. plants as demand for its plastic fiber and film products has dropped.
St. Louis-based Solutia already has reduced its head count by more than 300 in Greenwood, S.C., and by more than 100 in Pensacola, Fla., and will cut 115 jobs in Trenton, Mich., by March 31.
The Greenwood and Pensacola plants make nylon 6/6 resin and fiber, while Trenton makes polyvinyl butral resin and interlayers. The Trenton site is ending PVB interlayer production, resulting in the job cuts, officials said in a Nov. 18 news release.
After the layoffs, Greenwood will continue to employ 600 and Trenton about 70. A remaining job number for Pensacola was unavailable. All of the jobs cut in Pensacola and most of those cut in Greenwood were contractor positions, spokesperson Melissa Hammonds said.
``As nylon fiber demand declines, we need to make sure our inventory is in line with our product,'' Hammonds said in a Nov. 19 telephone interview. ``It's simple supply and demand.''
Hammonds added that slowdowns in construction have impacted nylon fiber demand in carpeting, while the automotive slump has limited nylon fiber demand for use in air bags and seat belts.
Solutia will continue to produce Saflex-brand PVB interlayers from North American sites in Springfield, Mass., and in Mexico. The firm also makes interlayers at sites in Belgium and China.
In spite of the cutback in Trenton, officials said Solutia still plans to add a total of almost 60 million pounds of PVB resin capacity in Springfield and in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2009 and 2010.
Solutia placed its nylon unit including resin and fibers up for sale earlier this year. That business accounted for a little over half of the firm's $3.8 billion sales total in 2007, but its profits have been in decline. In 2008, Solutia's nylon unit posted a loss of $58 million between March and September.
Like many stocks, Solutia's per-share stock price has suffered in the second half of 2008. The per-share price was above $15 in mid-September but was just under $6 in early trading Nov. 19.