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Eastman Joint Venture Plant in China Starts Operations

Published on 2004-11-23. Author : SpecialChem

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE:EMN) announced that Qilu Eastman Specialty Chemical Ltd. (QESCL) has begun operations in Zibo, Shandong Province, People's Republic of China. QESCL is a joint venture between Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Company and Eastman Chemical Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastman Chemical Company.

The new plant produces Texanol ester alcohol and TXIB plasticizer. The plant is able to meet the total demand of Eastman's current customers for these products in China. Construction of the plant began in September 2003.

"The joint venture enhances Eastman's global capacity for Texanol ester alcohol and TXIB plasticizer. We expect a healthy growth in our market segment for these products and have an optimistic outlook for the future of the plant," said Damon Warmack, Asia Pacific region president for the company's Eastman Division.

Eastman expects the synergy established with Sinopec Qilu will provide long-term business growth opportunities in China, and the Asia Pacific region in general, with a stable and efficient supply of raw material from its joint venture partner.

"The plant is identical, both in design and operation process, with our plant in Singapore and is tied into Eastman's global operation," said Brian Yoon, general manager, QESCL. "That means our customers will get the same consistent, high-quality products that they have come to expect from Eastman."

Texanol ester alcohol is the leading coalescing aid used in premium quality architectural paints around the world. It is produced within Eastman's coatings, adhesives, special polymers and inks segment. TXIB plasticizer is a primary plasticizer for vinyl, urethanes and other polymers for the production of consumer goods such as flooring, wallpaper, artificial leather and disposable medical examination gloves. It is produced within the company's performance chemicals and intermediates segment.

Chen Qi from Sinopec said, "I am confident of the success of this first joint venture of Sinopec with Eastman, as it's between two major players and will be a 'win-win' proposition for both parties. We expect more in depth cooperation in the future."

This investment is Eastman's second major project in China in the specialty chemicals markets. It follows the establishment of Nanjing Yangtzi Eastman Chemical Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture with Yangtzi Petrochemical Industrial Corporation established in 1998 to manufacture Eastotac hydrocarbon tackifying resin for adhesives.

Speaking at the grand opening ceremony of the Qilu plant, Han Yuqun, governor of Shandong Province, said, "The Qilu Chemical Industrial Zone has established itself as the third largest chemical industry zone in China. Its growth is playing a key role in the economic development in Zibo and Shandong." QESCL is the first large Sino-foreign joint venture to enter the Zone, and it is expected to generate a positive and significant impact on the development of Zibo and Shandong.

About Eastman Chemical Company

Eastman Chemical Company, headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., manufactures and markets chemicals, fibers and plastics worldwide. The company employs approximately 12,000 people and had 2003 sales of US$5.8 billion.

About Eastman in China

Eastman began providing products to China in 1979 and is now playing a leading role as a key supplier for various industries in China, including coatings, plastics, textile, cigarette and adhesives.

About Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Company

Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Corporation (QPC), established in 1966, is a large-scale petrochemical enterprise affiliated with China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec). With nearly 40 years development, QPC owns China's largest production base for chlorine/soda and oxo; is now a significant domestic processing base for high-sulfur and acid crude oil; and runs one of the largest ethylene facilities in China, with a capacity of 720,000 tons a year.

Source: Eastman

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