Eastman Will Sell Arkansas Plant For $75 Million

Organic chemical product and biodiesel fuel plant has 408 employees.

Eastman Chemical Co. announced Monday that it will sell its Arkansas subsidiary, Eastman SE to Viceroy Acquisition Corp. for $75 million. Eastman SE includes a manufacturing facility in Batesville, Ark., along with its related assets and product lines. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter 2006.

Eastman SE manufactures specialty organic chemical products for the company’s performance chemicals and intermediates segment, which is part of the chemicals and fibers business group. The facility has approximately 408 employees and also manufactures and markets biodiesel fuels.

“The Arkansas facility has been an important part of Eastman’s business since the late 1970’s,” said Jim Rogers, president of Eastman Chemical Co. and head of the company’s chemical fibers business group. “However, it does not fit with the company’s current strategy driving growth in our core businesses and on taking full advantage of new growth opportunities. This divestiture will result in a better alignment of company resources with our strategy.”

Rogers said that other Eastman sites will continue to manufacture and market products that are used in the global fine chemicals marketplace. These include complex organic molecules for fibers and food and beverage ingredients, as well as personal care and pharmaceutical ingredients. The company also provides custom manufacturing on a customer-by-customer basis.

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