Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) is dissolving its Sabic Innovative Plastics unit — the former GE Plastics business that ranks as one of the world's largest polycarbonate makers — in a move that will also see it close Sabic IP's office in Pittsfield, Mass.
In an Oct. 8 news release, officials with Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Sabic said that Sabic IP's commodity products will be placed in the parent firm's Chemicals and Polymers unit. Remaining Sabic IP products will be in a new Specialties unit.
“Along with the Performance Chemicals (strategic business unit)…the Innovative Plastics SBU will cease to exist,” officials said in the release.
Some of the 300 employees in Pittsfield will transfer to Sabic offices in the Houston area, officials said. The company is still evaluating Pittsfield's Polymer Processing Development Center and its location.
The business that is now Sabic IP has been based in Pittsfield in some form since 1903, when General Electric Co. bought the Stanley Electric Manufacturing plant there. GE began making phenolic plastic resins there in 1909. GE's employment numbers in Pittsfield peaked at 13,000 in the 1940s.
"Exiting the Pittsfield site was a logical yet very difficult business decision, knowing the important role our business and people have played in this community over the years," Sabic vice president and acting CEO Yousef Al-Benyan said in a news release.
GE Plastics was based in Pittsfield for many years and the business remained there after being sold to Sabic for $11.6 billion in 2007.
Officials added in the release that one of the drivers of the change is “the differing technology priorities of commodity and specialty businesses.”
The new structure is expected to be in place by Jan. 1.