Wellman Inc., Shrewsbury, NJ, will consolidate all of its U.S. fiber production at its Palmetto plant in Darlington, SC and close the fiber operation at its Johnsonville, SC facility. According to the company, which sells polyester to the apparel, home furnishings, nonwovens, industrial and fiberfill markets, the move is intended to reduce working capital and lower debt. Wellman also plans to sell the material recycling division and certain equipment at its Johnsonville plant. These actions are expected to result in a pre-tax charge of $30-$35 million in the third quarter.
"Consolidating our U.S. fiber production is expected to increase operating income and reduce working capital," commented Thomas Duff, chief executive. "We will be able to operate one fiber facility at close to full capacity rather than operating two under-utilized facilities. This will allow us to lower our overall costs and remain more competitive in our domestic fiber operations."