Eastman to Sell Batesville Plant

by Lance Turner  on Monday, Jul. 24, 2006 9:23 am  

Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport, Tenn., (NYSE: EMN) said Monday that it has agreed to sell its Arkansas subsidiary, Eastman SE Inc., to Viceroy Acquisition Corp. for $75 million.

The deal includes Eastman's Batesville manufacturing plant and its related assets and product lines. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and expected to close in fourth-quarter 2006.

"The Arkansas facility has been an important part of Eastman's business since the late 1970s," said Jim Rogers, president of Eastman Chemical Co. and head of the company's chemicals and fibers business group. "However, it does not fit with the company's current strategy of 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."

Eastman SE makes specialty organic chemicals products for the company's performance chemicals and intermediates segment, which is part of the chemicals and fibers business group. The plant has 408 employees and also makes and markets biodiesel fuels.

Viceroy is a special-purpose acquisition company that's investing in the U.S. biofuels market. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

According to Reuters last month, the firm's goal is to become the "largest biodiesel producer in the United States by a long way by mid-2007." It plans to do so by investing in the conversion of existing biodiesel facilities rather than building new ones.

More on Eastman

• Arkansas Business on KTHV: Biodiesel Plant Changes Hands
• THVideo: Lance Turner on the Eastman deal. Plus: News on Dillard's and Corliss Williamson.



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