The Woodlands-based Huntsman Corp. (NYSE: HUN), the sixth-largest employer in The Woodlands according to Houston Business Journal research, is in the process of investing between $25 million and $30 million into expanding its Conroe chemical plant, said Peter Huntsman, company president and CEO.
The expansion is meant to ramp up production and capacity, which entails permanent jobs created both in Conroe and potentially in The Woodlands’ corporate office as well, said Huntsman.
The Conroe plant is a polyetheramine manufacturing facility, and marks the second recent plant expansion from Huntsman, which announced the expansion of its polyetheramine manufacturing facility in Singapore in February.
The expansion will take place over the next two years or so, said Huntsman.
The Conroe plant expansion comes at an interesting time for Huntsman after it posted weak earnings in the first quarter, the brunt of which the company attributes to the $100 million maintenance turnaround of one of its largest facilities, located in Port Neches.
The expensive maintenance operation launched at the end of January and concluded in mid-April, and Huntsman isn’t missing a beat in ramping up production, despite the weak financial showing.
In the first quarter of 2015 ending March 31, Huntsman reported a net income attributable to Huntsman Corp. of $5 million, down from $54 million a year prior.
Revenue took less of a hit, but still showed a modest decrease to $2.6 billion in Q1 2015 from $2.75 billion in 2014.
Huntsman Corp. said in December it would be cutting 900 jobs, primarily in Europe, which fits into a global office consolidation strategy, said Huntsman.
Thus far, that strategy stands to swell up the company’s workforce in The Woodlands, said Huntsman.
By Suzanne Edwards