KINGSPORT, TENN. (Sept. 8, 4:55 p.m. ET) — At Eastman Chemical Co., all the world's a stage — for plasticizers.
Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman recently announced its acquisition of a plasticizer maker in Brazil, as well as plans to expand its own plasticizer production capacity in Kingsport, as well as at sites in Maryland and in the Baltic nation of Estonia.
In Brazil, Eastman has acquired plasticizer maker Scandiflex do Brasil SA Industrias Quimicas for an undisclosed sum. São Paulo-based Scandiflex has annual sales of $54 million. Officials said that the acquisition will accelerate growth of Eastman's non-phthalate plasticizer business in Latin America.
At its own plasticizer sites, Eastman will increase capacity for Benzoflex-brand plasticizer. The North American expansions — in Kingsport and in Chestertown, Md. — also will include Admex-brand plasticizers. Eastman's Estonian plant is in the city of Kohtla-Jarve.
Benzoflex is used in coatings, adhesives, vinyl flooring and similar applications. Uses for Admex include flexible PVC compounds that compete with rubber and thermoplastic elastomers in conveyor belts, gaskets, hoses and similar applications. Both Benzomex and Admex are non-phthalate materials.
The Estonian project will add more than 24 million pounds of annual production capacity. New annual capacity added in North America will total almost 20 million pounds. Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2012.
The expansions will be accomplished by modifying existing production equipment, spokesperson Kristin Sturgill said in a Sept. 8 phone interview. The projects are not expected to create any new jobs, she added.
“These expansions reflect the continuing growth in demand for alternatives to traditional phthalate products,” oxo and plasticizers business director Heidi Barnes said in the release. “The additional capacity will allow our Performance Chemicals and Intermediates segment to satisfy increasing customer demand for non-phthalate plasticizers.”
Eastman also produces Tritan-brand copolyester and other specialty plastics. The firm employs almost 10,000 worldwide and posted sales of $5.8 billion in 2010.