|The following press release announces that Fiber Industries LLC will restart the ex Wellman Palmetto plant in Darlington SC for production of polyester staple fiber:|
AKC Note: The plan to restart the Palmetto plant of Wellman has been discussed seriously since 2015. The downturn in the domestic staple spinning fiber business, as imports increased, resulted in some delays in the plans progressing to completion. But there have been solid indications for some months that the project was moving forward. Our News Update of May 20 2016 advised of some progress, and today’s release gives us a startup date of early 2018 and news that hiring will start in Q4 2017 through the South Carolina Technical College system with 135 jobs planned. The plant was closed by Wellman in late 2008 with a name plate capacity of 500 million lbs (225,000 tons) and a total of 7 lines. It is expected that the plant volumes will build up in phases. The domestic fine denier polyester staple market has been hit very hard by a rapid increase in the volume of imports entering the country. In 2012 total imports were 63,000 tons and by 2016 they were 131,000 tons. As a result the domestic producers filed an anti-dumping case in June 2017 (News Update June 1 2017) against the top import supply countries. The initial evaluation by Department of Commerce was positive and the detailed evaluation process is now under way. It is generally expected that it will be a positive outcome for the domestic producers, but the level of anti-dumping duty and cvd will determine just how effective it will be in reducing imports. We do not think that Fiber Industries plans have been driven by anti-dumping, as they have been under action since well before the anti-dumping claims were being discussed, but the filing will certainly have provided added confidence to the investors.