SHREWSBURY, NJ, Dec. 4 -- Wellman Inc. will delay plans to modify a polyester fiber
line at the Pearl River plant in Bay St. Louis, MS, to produce PET resins. The project, which was expected to
result in 285 million lb/yr of additional PET capacity, was originally scheduled to
begin in first quarter 2004.
The company said plans have been delayed "until we are able to improve the project's
economic return." In June, the company said it would modify the existing staple fiber
line at Pearl River so that it could produce either solid-stated PET resin or polyester
The PET fibers line, which was constructed about two years ago, is currently idle.
Shortly after being commissioned, the line was closed in fall 2000, according to
Wellman spokesman Dennis Sabourin.
Wellman currently operates two PET resin lines at Pearl River and produces 500 million
lb/yr, says Sabourin. In the meantime, the company is expanding PET resin capacity at
its Palmetto, SC, facility through a bilateral strategic purchasing agreement with
Voridian Co., Kingsport, TN.
In July, Wellman announced that it would supply amorphous PET from converted lines at
Palmetto to Voridian, which would subsequently solid state the resin to boost its
intrinsic viscosity and crystallinity for blow-molded bottles.
Voridian will begin production of general-purpose PET bottle resin grades from the
Wellman feedstocks during first quarter 2003 at multiple North American solid-stating
facilities. The agreement is expected to increase PET capacity by approximately 200
million lb in 2003 and up to 260 million lb in subsequent years. The PET products will
be divided between the two companies and each will market and sell its portion