Arizona Chemical announced that it will permanently close its Port St. Joe, FL, chemical plant in July 2009. The company intends to transfer its Port St. Joe production to its refineries in Panama City, FL, and Savannah, GA.
This announcement will affect all of the approximately 77 employees at the Port St. Joe plant, and the company plans to provide them with comprehensive severance and outplacement assistance, including working with local officials to find job opportunities where possible.
“This decision is not a reflection of the team members at the Port St. Joe plant,” said Kees Verhaar, Arizona Chemical’s president and CEO. “Arizona Chemical is not alone in its struggle to stay ahead of the impact the global economic downturn has had on our orders and production.” The company has tried to manage the reduction in customer orders in a number of ways, including scheduling downtime at most of its manufacturing plants to reduce its overall cost burden.
“Unfortunately,” Mr. Verhaar explained, “given the current economic outlook, the decision has been made that closing the Port St. Joe plant and moving its orders to the company’s other refineries makes the best economic sense for the overall health of the business.” The company intends to invest in several of its other U.S. facilities to accommodate the Port St. Joe business.
“Throughout its more than 50-year history, the Port St. Joe team has always set a high standard in terms of production and safety, and we have the utmost gratitude and respect for everyone who has worked there over the years for their contributions to Arizona Chemical,” Mr. Verhaar said.
The Port St. Joe plant was built in 1957 and acquired by Arizona Chemical in 1986. The plant produces rosins, rosin esters and fatty acids for the adhesives, oleochemicals and inks industries.