Originally created 04/24/04

Eastman Chemical to cut as many as 150 jobs in South Carolina

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Eastman Chemical Co. plans to cut up to 150 jobs at its Voridian plant near Columbia, S.C., as part a continuing effort to reduce costs and remain competitive.

The company said it will cut 20 to 25 percent of its work force at the plant, or 120 to 150 workers.

The Voridian plant is Eastman's largest producer of polyethylene terephthalate for use in plastic packaging. Production at the plant will remain steady despite the labor force reduction.

"Remaining competitive in a commodity business like PET polymers requires us to be extremely cost-disciplined," Voridian president Allan Rothwell said in a statement. "The labor reductions will help us in achieving this objective."

Earlier this year, Eastman CEO Brian Ferguson said the company will cut its labor force by about 3,000 by the end of the year.

The chemical giant finished 2003 with a loss of $270 million, or $3.50 a share, on revenues of $5.8 billion.

Eastman shares were down 38 cents to $43.59 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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