Eastman Chemical Co. said Tuesday that it is considering closing its acetate tow manufacturing facility in the United Kingdom as demand for the product slows.
The Workington, U.K., site accounts for about 11% of Eastman’s overall manufacturing capacity for acetate tow, a fibrous material used in cigarette filters. Eastman said it also manufactures acetate tow at facilities in Tennessee, Korea and China, the latter through a joint venture with China National Tobacco Co.
Eastman said it has notified the trade union and will begin working with representatives through the consultation period. Eastman had about 14,000 employees as of December 2013, according to a regulatory filing.
The announcement came just days after the chemical and materials company reported that its fourth-quarter profit plunged on higher acquisition-related expenses. Excluding those expenses and other special items, however, its profit rose to $1.64 a share from $1.35 a year earlier as revenue rose 3.71%.
The Tennessee company—which makes chemicals, plastics and synthetic fibers—has been expanding through acquisitions. In December, it bought specialty chemical maker Taminco Corp.—the world’s largest producer of alkylamines, used in agriculture, water treatment and personal care items—and Commonwealth Laminating Coating Inc., a maker of window films and specialty films for the automotive, architectural and protective-applications markets.
By Chelsey Dulaney