Tall Oil Plant Folds


Arizona Chemical will permanently close its Port St. Joe, Fla., tall oil plant in July, citing the global economic downturns continued impacts on customer orders.

The company on Thursday said it will transfer the plants production to its refineries in Panama City, Fla., and Savannah, Ga. Arizona Chemical said it will provide severance and outplacement assistance to the 77 Port St. Joe plant employees.

This decision is not a reflection of the team members at the Port St. Joe plant, said Kees Verhaar, president and CEO. Arizona Chemical is not alone in its struggle to stay ahead of the impact the global economic downtown has had on our orders and production. The company said it has tried to manage the reduction in customer orders in a number of ways, including scheduling downtime at most of its manufacturing plants to reduce its overall cost burden.

Arizona Chemical idled the Port St. Joe plant from Feb. 6 through the last week of February. At the time, it cited market projections that showed softer demand for tall oil fatty acids and rosin products in the first quarter and explained that idling the refinery would allow it to address maintenance issues.

The Port St. Joe plant was built in 1957 and acquired by Arizona Chemical in 1986.

Arizona Chemical makes a variety of tall oil products, including tall oil fatty acids, soaps, rosins and distilled tall oils. Tall oil fatty acids are used in manufacture of metalworking fluids and corrosion inhibitors, and in industrial uses such as lubricants for belt conveyors, escalators and tracks.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company produces naturally derived specialty resins and pine-based chemicals for the lubricants, adhesives, inks and coatings, fuel additives, mining and oleochemicals markets. It has manufacturing plants in the United States and Europe.

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