Earnest W. Deavenport Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, said the action is part of the company’s previously announced strategic plan to improve earnings and position Eastman for future growth.
“We’re continuing to work toward optimizing our current capacity in a way that will better serve our customers, reduce our costs and improve our earnings,” Mr. Deavenport said.
Lawter produces resins for the graphic arts, coatings and adhesives industries at the Moundville site. Those products include hydrocarbon, rosin ester, polyamide, polyketone and acrylic resins.
J. Brian Ferguson, president of Eastman’s Chemicals Group, said production of materials currently manufactured at Moundville will be moved to other Eastman facilities.
“The network of global production sites we’ve acquired over the past few years gives us the ability to implement a very strategic manufacturing plan,” Mr. Ferguson said. “We can add capacity to key sites and be in a better position to support our customers’ growth.”
Mr. Ferguson said Lawter will begin phasing out production at Moundville by the end of the year and that he expects the site to be closed during the second quarter of 2002.
“The hardest part of this decision is, of course, the effect on the approximately 75 Lawter employees at Moundville,” Mr. Ferguson said. “We acquired the Moundville site as part of the acquisition of Lawter International, Inc., in 1999. It is regretful that we will not be able to retain jobs in Moundville.”