KINGSPORT, Tenn., March 23, 2010 – Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE: EMN) has announced the opening of a new acetate tow manufacturing plant in Ulsan, Korea. The new plant is owned by Eastman Fibers Korea Limited, a joint venture between Eastman and SK Chemicals Co., Ltd. Eastman has controlling ownership in the venture and will operate the facility. Construction of the new site began in December 2008 and was completed in December 2009.
"We are very pleased with the execution of the construction phase of this project,” said Richard L. Johnson, senior vice president for Eastman’s fibers business. “This joint venture is an important part of Eastman’s growth plans.”
“The opening of this site will enable us to support the growth we see for cellulose acetate tow in Asia,” said Michael Chung, vice president and managing director for Asia Pacific. “We are pleased to have this additional capacity now available to serve our customers in Asia.”
With the addition of 27,000 metric tons (MT) of capacity from the new plant, Eastman’s overall capacity is increased by approximately 15%, for a total annual capacity in excess of 200,000 MT. Cellulose acetate tow is used primarily as a raw material for the manufacture of cigarette filters. Cellulose acetate flake, a key raw material for the manufacture of cellulose acetate tow, will be provided to the Korea facility from Eastman’s Kingsport site.