Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

Details were sketchy but Orange County leaders were definitely pumped up by the announcement of a $100 million expansion at Orange’s Sabine River Works.

DowDuPont Inc. will spend that much in the next two years to expand productivity of special plastic materials at the plant that opened in 1946 and employs 900, according to Monday’s corporate news release.

“One hundred million dollars to expand their operations is exciting,” said Jessica Hill, executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Corporation.

“When they spoke of the merger about 18 months ago, there was conversation about significant investment at their facilities along the Gulf Coast, so I’m glad to see they’ve decided to put some of it here.

“And hopefully there’s some opportunity for some more, once the acquisition is final and they fully merge into a Dow facility.”

DowDuPont was formed in 2016 from the merger of chemical and plastics giants DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. The firm plans to split into three separate public firms – including a new Dow and a new DuPont in 2019.

The company’s news release said the investment is needed to meet growing demand from the packaging and transportation markets.

“A hundred million is a pretty good-size project in a facility that’s been needing some improvement,” said John Gothia, Orange County Commissioner Precinct 4.

“I did have a conversation with Ida Schossow [Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce president] and Jessica Hill, but they [DowDuPont] haven’t let out the details on what that’s going to be.

“We are looking forward to that to see, but that’s good news for Orange to see that a large corporation is going to continue and increase their investment in Orange County.

“That’s great news.”

Hill noted DowDuPont has not approached any local governments regarding tax or job creation incentives.

“I can’t say at this point, until they make an announcement locally, what the job creation would be,” Hill said. “But this is exciting.”

Plasticnews.com said the investments will incrementally expand production capacity to support global growth of specialty materials manufactured at the site, specifically the Surlyn, Nucrel, Vamacvand Fusabond specialty products used for applications in food packaging, transportation, and consumer goods.

DowDuPont also is evaluating longer term plans to invest in a new facility to further support market growth.

The joint investment will support customer growth of both the Packaging & Specialty Plastics (P&SP) business of DowDuPont’s Materials Science division (to be named Dow), as well as the Transportation & Advanced Polymers (T&AP) business of its Specialty Products division (to be named DuPont).

“This is another great example of the power of our historic merger and our ability to quickly respond to customers’ growing needs,” said Diego Donoso, Business President for Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics.

“We see tremendous potential to deliver more supply of these iconic specialty products to our customers in the food packaging and consumer goods markets.”

The added capacity is expected to come online in several phases starting in 2020 and will enable both divisions to meet growing demand for Surlyn, Nucrel, Fusabond (P&SP) and Vamac (T&AP).

 “With this increased capacity, we will be able to support growth in the automotive space at a time when customer demand for our advanced polymers is very strong,” said Randy Stone, Business President for DuPont Transportation & Advanced Polymers.

“This investment will enable us to continue to deliver innovative solutions that serve high-growth end markets and reinforces our commitment to enhancing our leadership position in these key market segments.”