Many in the plastics industry know Eastman Chemical Co. as a PET resin supplier. But the company may be planning to exit that business, according to a story in the daily paper where the company is headquartered. The Kingsport, Tenn., Times-News posted a story headlined "Eastman might pull plug on PET business." The story was generated from an interview that Eastman President and CEO Jim Rogers gave to the newspaper on Feb. 3. Rogers said PET hasn't made any money for Eastman since 2005. The company has made some major changes in the PET business in recent years -- selling plants around the world, and investing millions in its IntegRex technology at its only remaining PET plant in Columbia, S.C. Now, he said, it's time for the business to start to perform. "Our patience is measured in months, not years," Rogers told the newspaper. "I think the real test is going to come in the second quarter to see just how much our guys have been able to do about demonstrating to the markets that we've got our act together now, and we deserve our fair piece of ... higher-value segments." Rogers said. "We're going to get through the second quarter and see how we do, and then we'll take a look," he said. That's about as clear a signal I've seen that a business has a very specific deadline to show improved results. It's also a pretty clear signal to competitors that this business is on the block. Eastman isn't alone in looking for a buyer for some major plastics assets. It looks like the resin sector is in for some major restructuring in 2010.
Eastman might sell PET business?
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