Eastman Chemical Co. announced the start of operations of a plant to produce Texanol ester alcohol and TXIB plasticizer in Zibo, Shandong Province, China, in a joint venture of Eastman Chemical Ltd. and Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Co. Eastman said the facility's capacity is adequate to meet the total demand of current customers for Texanol and TXIB in China. Damon Warmack, Asia Pacific Region president for the company's Eastman Division, says the company anticipates strong growth rates for Texanol and TXIB in the region. Texanol ester alcohol, a coalescing aid, is used in architectural coatings worldwide and is produced by Eastman's coatings, adhesives, special

polymers and inks segment. TXIB plasticizer is used in vinyl, urethane and other polymers for the production of a variety of consumer goods. The new plant, operated by the joint-venture business Qilu Eastman Specialty Chemical Ltd., represents the second major specialty chemical investment for Eastman in China. Nanjing Yangtzi Eastman Chemical Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture with Yangtzi Petrochemical Industrial Corp., was launched in 1998 to manufacture hydrocarbon tackifying resin for adhesives.