Eastman Chemical Co. is confident of finding a buyer for their US PET business by end of the year. The confidence stems partly from the fact that acquisition of the asset will make the buyer a leader in North American PET business. Eastman has had experience in working with this type of process outside USA, giving it confidence to conclude the deal by end 2010.
PET has been Eastman's most recognizable product for over 30 years. But declining profitability and slowing demand growth has led Eastman to sell off its non-US PET assets and led Eastman and other firms to close some North American capacity. Eastman’s Sandy Run plant has not made a profit since 2005, recorded a loss of US$62 mln in 2009. Recently, Eastman has invested in IntegRex breakthrough technology to produce PET more efficiently, along with US$100 mln investment to construct a new plant and supporting infrastructure at the site. An oversupply in the market along with light weighting in PET bottles, have impacted demand and resulted in losses for PET resin business for the past five years.