Partner’s Bankruptcy Stalls Ester Plant


A French-American joint venture to build a synthetic esters plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has stalled due to the bankruptcy of the U.S. partner, Specialty Industrial Products Inc.

Officials with Nyco America LLC say they are considering alternatives about how to proceed as they watch for developments with SIP, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late November.

Were waiting to see what happens with SIP and looking at other options, Nyco America Director of Sales and Marketing Harry Pinchevsky said.

SIP and Paris-based Nyco S.A. announced their joint venture in August 2001. It called for the South Carolina company to build the plant at its Spartanburg site based on technology provided by Nyco. The partners planned to complete construction in time to begin production before the end of 2002 but SIPs financial problems disrupted that schedule.

SIP makes surfactants, emulsifiers and lubricants for the textile, food, metalworking and pharmaceutical industries. Controller Ben Wesselingh said management hopes to make an announcement concerning SIPs status in the near future, but he declined to elaborate.

The cost and capacity of the Nyco America plant have not been disclosed. Pinchevsky called it modest but said it is designed to allow for expansion.

The partners planned to use some of the plants synthetic esters to make their own aviation lubricants and to sell the remainder to other lube blenders, as well as to the textile and pharmaceutical industries.

Nyco America continues to sell products imported from France and, according to Pinchevsky, remains bullish about prospects in the United States.

Nyco has a significant business in aviation lubricants but it is limited to Europe and Southeast Asia, he said. The United States represents a substantial part of the worlds aviation market – maybe as much as half. Obviously, the airline industry has suffered since 9/11, but its a cyclical market that takes some time to get into, so you have to have a long-term perspective.

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