MIDLAND, MI - The Dow Chemical Co.'s UCAR Emulsion Systems business unit announced plans to build a new production plant at the company's Union Carbide Corp. St. Charles site in Louisiana and expand production operations in Alsip, IL, and Sarnia, Ontario.

The additional capacity from the new and expanded facilities will replace existing Union Carbide production capacity in Tucker, GA, and Garland, TX, which will be shut down in 2006, the company said.

The expansion program calls for an investment of more than $100 million over the next three years, with the new latex production facility at the St. Charles site billed as the centerpiece of the plans. Investment in the production facilities at Alsip and Sarnia will improve the sites' "long-term manufacturing capability," the company said.

"This investment in UCAR Emulsion Systems and Dow's recent acquisition of the Celanese acrylates business represent a significant commitment to the paint and coatings industry," said Phil Cook, Dow's senior vice president for Performance Chemicals and Thermoset Products. The company said productivity and quality gains resulting from the new facility will help the UCAR Emulsion Systems business meet the stringent demands of the paint and coatings marketplace.

Dow said the program is the result of an extensive study of the UCAR Emulsion Systems business's North American manufacturing facilities, with the goal of ensuring sustainable operations. Thayne Hansen, UES global business director, said the review concluded that the company "could not affordably reinvest in the facilities at Tucker and Garland."

Dow's UCAR Emulsion Systems business is a supplier of emulsions for the architectural coatings, building-products and textiles markets. The business operates 14 production facilities globally, including six in North America.