Eastman Chemical unloads PET biz for $600M

After years of trying, Eastman Chemical finally has found a way to make money off its PET business — sell it.

The Kingsport, Tenn.-based company announced on Monday it is selling its “PET business and related assets and technology of its Performance Polymers segment” for $600 million to DAK Americas LLC, a subsidiary of the Mexican conglomerate Alfa.

PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, is used in synthetic fibers and food and drink containers.

“After reviewing strategic options for our Performance Polymers PET business, we determined this action to be the most beneficial to Eastman and our stockholders,” Jim Rogers, Eastman president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “With the path forward for PET now clear, we are dedicating all of our energies to leveraging our solid core businesses and strong balance sheet to deliver value creating growth.”

After waiting years to make money off its polyethylene terephthalate business, Eastman last spring hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to explore “strategic options,” which is corporate speak for “find me a buyer.”

The sale is expected to close during the fourth quarter this year and is subject to regulatory approval.

Eastman also said on Monday that in conjunction with the sale of its PET business it “has approved a restructuring plan to reduce costs and will recognize severance restructuring charges in the fourth quarter.”

Details of the restructuring plan were not immediately available.