KINGSPORT, TN — Eastman Chemical Co., a major supplier of raw materials for coatings, ink and adhesives, announced that it will pursue a plan to split the company into two independent public companies — Specialty Chemicals and Plastics and PET Plastics and Acetate Fibers.
The Specialty Chemicals and Plastics company would include Eastman’s products for coatings, adhesives, ink, specialty polymers, and plastics, and chemical intermediates. The PET Plastics and Acetate Fibers company would encompass Eastman’s PET plastics and acetate fibers units and the polyethylene business. The company says its PET business is the global market leader in the industry.
Eastman Chairman and CEO Earnest W. Deavenport Jr. said the plan would create “two great companies,” and said the move would “unlock long-term shareholder value and provide investors with investment opportunities in highly focused entities.” He said each company “will set its own course for profitable growth, resource allocation and strategic transactions.”
Eastman said it intends to launch the two new companies through a spinoff in the form of a tax-free stock dividend, to be effective by the end of the fourth quarter of this year, with Eastman shareholders owning shares in both companies. Deavenport will remain chairman and CEO until the spinoff is effective, and then will retire, the company said. J. Brian Ferguson, who has been president of Eastman’s Polymers Group, will become CEO of the specialty plastics and chemicals company. Allan R. Rothwell, who has been president of Eastman’s Chemicals Group, will become CEO of the PET plastics and acetate fibers company.