DuPont: Jobs unaffected by section sale

WASHINGTON – DuPont officials announced Thursday they have agreed to sell the Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyl section at Washington Works to Kuraray Vinyl Acetate Co.

No local jobs are expected to be lost in this sale, said Karl Boelter, DuPont plant manager. The Kuraray company is expected to continue operations as they have been, Boelter said.

Other than a change of management, little is expected to be different at the Wood County plant after the purchase next year, Boelter said. There is no anticipated change in employment numbers, normal traffic patterns to the Washington site, or new structures being planned at the moment, Boelter said.

The section is a part of the Washington Works DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers. It produced net sales in 2012 of more than $500 million worldwide.

This portion of the DuPont plant was sold to Kuraray, a Japanese company, for $543 million, plus the value of the inventories at the time of purchase.

Officials estimate the sale will close sometime in the first half of 2014, pending customary regulatory approvals, according to a press release by DuPont. No official date has been set for the sale, according to Boelter.

The Kuraray company was established in 1926 “for the purpose of commercializing synthetic rayon, which was cutting edge technology at the time,” according to the Kuraray website.

Kuraray manufactures products that include chemicals, resins, fibers, textures, high performance materials, medical products, and other materials, according to the Kuraray website.

Kuraray was “one of the first to successfully industrialize and globally market (polyvinyl alcohol products),” said Keiji Murakami, president of Kuraray’s Vinyl Acetate Co.

“We will benefit from DuPont’s talented global (Glass Laminating Solutions)/Vinyl team and their technology, manufacturing, and sales network that has supported it over the years.” Murakami said. “I am convinced these areas of expertise will allow us to continue to expand our Vinyl Acetate business,” Murakami said.

The Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyl portion of the DuPont plant “will have a good home with Kuraray,” said William J. Harvey, president of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers.

Kuraray’s focus on the polyvinyl alcohol provides it with a strong global marketing position, and its ability to invest in the future of the product makes the sale of the company a good fit with its purchaser, according to Harvey.

The Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyl part of the local plant is a leading producer of polyvinyl butyral and ionomer sheets for safety glass, as well as vinyl acetate monomer and polyvinyl alcohol products, according to company officials. These products are used globally in automotive, architectural and industrial applications, officials said.