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Eastman Consolidates Coatings Technology Groups
Nov 21, 2002
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Eastman Chemical Company said today it will move its coatings technology organization. The coatings technology operation at the company's Carpentersville, IL, U.S. facility will be consolidated into its coatings technology organization at its headquarters site in Kingsport, TN, U.S.

"This consolidation will enable us to better leverage the combined technology base created by the acquisitions we've made over the past few years and will help us provide even stronger technology services to our coatings customers," said Francois Vleugels, vice president and general manager, coatings, adhesives, specialty polymers and inks business. "Employees who work on similar coatings technology projects and initiatives will now be located at one site, which will lead to faster completion of projects and customer solutions."

The consolidation will move approximately 40 coatings technology positions, along with several coatings marketing and coatings pilot plant positions, to Kingsport. As a result of these relocations, there will be approximately 50 to 60 fewer jobs at the Carpentersville site. Some positions that currently support coatings technology will be eliminated, and employees in those positions who are not transferred to Kingsport will either be redeployed to other jobs at the Carpentersville site or will be separated from the company.

"This has been a difficult decision because of the impact on our coatings technology employees in Carpentersville," Mr. Vleugels said. "But part of our integration process for acquisitions is to determine how each site best fits into our long-term strategy, and combining these functions makes good business sense. We'll be able to move projects along more quickly to completion since employees will be sharing ideas and solutions on a more day-to-day basis. The relocation will leverage the combined strengths of all of our coatings technologies as well as facilitate improved access to and use of Eastman's world-class analytical facilities located in Kingsport."

Vleugels emphasized Eastman's commitment to the Carpentersville site by pointing out that a capital expansion project is in the planning stages for the site's latex operations, and a process control technology upgrade is also planned to provide improved instrumentation and control that will result in better overall efficiency for the site.

"We are committed to making the Carpentersville site as productive and efficient as possible," he said.

The transition to Kingsport will take place over the next six months. Currently, the Carpentersville site has approximately 260 employees. Eastman acquired the site as part of its acquisition of McWhorter Technologies in 2000. Eastman also has coatings technology groups at sites in Europe and Asia Pacific, and the relocation plans announced today will not directly affect those groups. The company's composites technology organization that is also located at the Carpentersville facility will continue to be located at that site.

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