Eastman Chemical Company and SK Chemicals Co., Ltd. have inked a 80:20 joint venture agreement to form a new company, Eastman Fibers Korea Limited for construction of a cellulose acetate tow manufacturing facility in Korea. Eastman will have 80% ownership and will operate the facility while SK Chemicals will own the remainder and will be responsible for construction of the facility. Also as part of the agreement, SK will transfer its acetate fibers technology to Eastman. The new facility will be erected adjacent to an existing SK Chemicals manufacturing site in Ulsan, Korea. Construction is expected to begin in Q1 - 2009 and should be completed during the Q2 - 2010 having a production capacity of approximately 27,000 mtpa.
SK Chemicals will close its existing acetate fibers plant located in Suwon, Korea within the H1 - 2009 in a bid to 'reposition' itself as a specialty chemicals and life sciences company while exiting fibers business. The Suwon fibers plant currently has the capacity to produce 12,000 mtpa of cellulose acetate tow and 9,000 mtpa of cellulose acetate yarn.