Momentive Performance Materials Inc. will end part of its silicones production in Waterford, N.Y., after selling its Consumer Sealants business to German specialty chemicals firm Henkel AG & Co. KG.
Waterford-based Momentive will stop making silicones for that unit at the end of 2021, resulting in a loss of 300 jobs, officials said in an Aug. 5 news release. No purchase price was disclosed.
Düsseldorf, Germany-based Henkel owns a wide variety of well-known brands, including Persil, Purex and All laundry detergents as well as Snuggle fabric softeners, Dial soaps and Right Guard deodorants and antiperspirants.
In the same release, Momentive announced a $15 million investment in specialized electronic materials production in Waterford.
Momentive "also envisions a two-year transition away from basic chemicals production at its Waterford facility, which began operations in 1947," officials said in the release. They described these moves as "a series of steps to accelerate its global transition from commodity basics chemicals to specialty silicones."
"We are continuing to prioritize and invest in specialty businesses where we have unique capabilities to win," President and CEO Sam Conzone said in the release. "Everything we do is focused on creating a stronger, more sustainable future for our employees, our customers and our communities."
Officials added that over the past five years, Momentive has invested around $100 million in growth, technology, productivity, safety and reliability at the Waterford site.
The Consumer Sealants unit being sold includes GE-branded consumer sealants sold through home improvement centers, major retailers and hardware stores. Momentive will continue to make those materials through 2021 under a transition supply agreement.
Officials said that the move away from consumer sealants will enable greater focus on unique silicones and specialty applications. The deal does not include the GE-branded construction sealants product line, which officials said "will remain a Momentive focus."
"Millions of homeowners and commercial builders have relied on GE-branded consumer sealants for decades, and we remain very proud of that legacy," added Conzone, who joined the firm in 2008 and was named to his current posts in April.
"Selling this business to Henkel allows Momentive to fully focus our attention and resources on innovating and growing with advanced products that enable our customers' success," he added.
After stopping production of those materials, Momentive will still employ 700 in Waterford.
"Although these changes may be difficult in the short term, we will move through them in a structured manner, showing empathy and support to those affected," Conzone said. "Ultimately these changes are necessary to position Momentive as a stronger and more sustainable company."
Momentive makes advanced silicone and specialty products, including liquid silicone rubber, for applications in health care, telecommunications, electronics and many other industries.
Momentive traces its history to the silicones business of General Electric Co. In recent years, Momentive was owned by a private equity firm then went public before being acquired for $3.1 billion in 2018 by South Korean firms SJL Partners LLC, KCC Corp. and Wonik QnC Corp.