The Dow Chemical Company Biocides business has announced plans to build a new, integrated Vinyl Methyl Ether (VME) facility at St. Charles Operations in Hahnville, La., which will replace the existing VME capacity manufactured in South Charleston, W.Va.
The new VME facility is scheduled to start up during the first half of 2008, with local production migrating to the new facility in the second half of 2008.
It is not yet known how many jobs will be affected by the change, but approximately 15-20 employees currently support the production facility in South Charleston.
The decision to relocate the VME production to Louisiana was reached after the Biocides business team developed a long-term asset strategy to address future business needs. "After thorough analysis, the business concluded that the plant could not be competitive if production remained at its current location given the need for significant capital investment to upgrade and expand the facility, high raw material transportation costs, and escalating infrastructure costs in South Charleston," said Billy Duncan, Global Business Manufacturing Leader, Dow Biocides.
The new VME facility planned for Louisiana offers a capital-efficient opportunity to share production facilities with another production plant; key raw materials produced on-site and reduced transportation and overall costs to the business."The employees in West Virginia have put forth their best effort to develop and preserve the profitability of the Biocides business and we are certain that these employees will do the same to safely decommission the plant," Duncan said.
VME is the starting block chemical for biocide and fungicide applications, commonly used in antimicrobial products, water treatment products, leather tanning, sanitizers and preservatives.