Eastman Chemical plans $1.6B East Tennessee investment

Eastman.2.JPGSpecialty chemicals maker Eastman Chemical Co. on Wednesday signaled a long-term commitment to East Tennessee with announcement of $1.6 billion plan to modernize its Kingsport, Tenn. facility

The investment will be made over the next seven years and create 300 new jobs, company and state officials said in a news release.

The so-called Project Inspire initiative will include investment in  “new growth opportunities, safety and environmental projects, increased warehouse capacity, building renovations and expansion of its corporate campus,” according to a news release.

Eastman Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers describe the project as a “landmark capital investment” that will culminate with the company’s 100th anniversary in 2020.

“I can think of no better way to honor our long-term commitment to this site and surrounding community than through this very significant investment in our future,” Rogers said in the news release.

State government is pitching in with road improvements and a grant for employee training through the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Kingsport.

“This investment will bring hundreds of high quality jobs to the state, and I appreciate Eastman’s continued investment in Tennessee,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a statement.

Eastman, the largest employer in northeast Tennessee, produces chemicals, fibers and other materials for customers in about 100 countries. It has annual revenues of $9.1 billion and about 13,500 employees worldwide.

Click here for the full announcement.

Photo: Eastman Chemical coal gassification plant at its Kingsport, Tenn., facilityu. (Submitted)