Sabic Innovative Plastics plans to close its 51-employee compounding plant in Thorndale, Pa.
Pittsfield, Mass.-based Sabic IP tentatively announced the closing on Sept. 18. Officials now are meeting with United Steelworkers Amalgamated 1165-07 — the union that represents most of the plant's workers — and expect to make a final decision within 60 days, the company said in a statement.
The 50-year-old Thorndale site makes LNP-brand compounds based on polycarbonate, nylon and other engineering resins for use in consumer electronics and similar applications. Sabic IP officials said in the statement that more of the customer base for those products is now located in the Pacific region, and that this trend “is expected to accelerate.
“These customers continue to request local production in the Pacific and shorter lead times to rapidly meet the constant demand for the latest consumer electronic devices,” they added. “Customer preferences, combined with flat growth for Americas product demand, has been preventing Sabic's specialty compounding facilities in the Americas from operating at rates approaching full capacity.”
Sabic plans to increase its production of these materials in the Pacific, spokeswoman Shelia Naab said by phone. Regional production of the products also can be increased at plants in Columbus, Ind., and San Luis Potosí, Mexico, if needed, she added.
Union officials could not be reached for comment. The Thorndale site originally was part of LNP Engineering Plastics, which in 2002 was bought by the GE Plastics unit of General Electric Co.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp. — the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based parent of Sabic IP — then bought GE Plastics in 2007.