WILMINGTON, DE - Hercules Inc., the only U.S.-based producer of commercial-grade nitrocellulose, announced plans to leave the business by late this year, citing overcapacity in the global nitrocellulose market. The company said its Aqualon Division will discontinue production at the company's Parlin, NJ, manufacturing facility, the only site where nitrocellulose is manufactured. Production will continue through the third quarter of 2000, and the plant will continue to operate as a manufacturing site for hydroxyethylcellulose, the company said.

Monika Riese-Martin, general manager of the Aqualon Division, said the move is being driven by market factors. "Despite a significant internal effort to reduce our production costs, the persistent overcapacity of the global nitrocellulose market has made this a nonviable business for Hercules," she said. Nitrocellulose is used as a film former in lacquer coatings, printing ink and nail polishes.