Eastman closes in England

From Staff Reports

   KINGSPORT -- Eastman Chemical Company will close its copolyester manufacturing plant in Britain and concentrate production in Tennessee, the company announced Tuesday.
   The plant, located in Hartlepool, England, employs 75 people and makes a range of copolyester products. The material is used to make items ranging from packaging for medical and cosmetic products to ink pen components, toys, sporting goods and housewares.
   Eastman expects to transfer most of the production to its Kingsport plant, but it also has a copolyester manufacturing plant in Kuantan, Malaysia that can meet demand for the products as needed.
   "The decision to close the Hartlepool site was a difficult one," said Jim Rogers, president of the company's Eastman Division. "But by consolidating production at sites that are more integrated through our raw material stream, we'll be able to sustain over the long term our ability to continue to provide customers with consistent high quality copolyester products on a global basis."
   In October, Eastman announced it was eliminating 600 administrative jobs through layoffs and attrition, many of them at the corporate headquarters in Kingsport.
   Eastman makes and markets chemicals, fibers and plastics worldwide. The company has about 15,000 employees in about 30 countries. In 2003, sales totaled $5.8 billion.