Processing Magazine

Bankrupt Solutia dropping acrylics business

January 26, 2005

Citing fierce competition overseas, chemicals concern Solutia Inc. said Tuesday it will close its acrylic fibers business, cutting in half - to 250 people - its work force at an Alabama factory as the company presses to emerge from bankruptcy.

According to the Associated Press, the St. Louis-based company said 200 contractors - most also connected to the plant in Decatur, Ala. - would be affected by the one-time Monsanto Co. spinoff''s effort to shed money-losing operations.

Under the plan requiring approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the Alabama factory will continue making chemical intermediates for use in nylon products but will close its acrylic fiber operation in April, Solutia said. The matter is scheduled to be heard by the bankruptcy judge Feb. 17.

In seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2003, Solutia cited its struggles under heavy financial obligations when it was spun off by the former Monsanto as a separate company in 1997. Since then, Solutia was on the hook for retiree benefits, environmental and litigation costs accrued by Monsanto and Pharmacia over a century of manufacturing.

Solutia makes nylon products, films for laminated safety glass and aftermarket, water-treatment chemicals, heat-transfer fluids and aviation hydraulic fluid.