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Published: Friday, 3/18/2005

New Jersey firm acquires part of BP's Lima chemical complex

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
This aerial view shows the BP chemical plant in the foreground marked ISP, for the buyer
International Specialty Products. Above it is the Premcor oil refi nery, and to the upper left
of that is the main BP Chemical complex which is not part of the sale. The photo looks westward,
with Metcalf Street in Lima at the bottom. This aerial view shows the BP chemical plant in the foreground marked ISP, for the buyer International Specialty Products. Above it is the Premcor oil refi nery, and to the upper left of that is the main BP Chemical complex which is not part of the sale. The photo looks westward, with Metcalf Street in Lima at the bottom.
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A New Jersey customer has acquired a 36-employee plant that is part BP PLC's Lima, Ohio, chemicals complex and its related business for an undisclosed price, a move that alters but doesn't derail the British firm's plans to make the rest of the operation part of a stand-alone firm.

International Specialty Products Inc., of Wayne, N.J., announced yesterday it has acquired the $100 million plant BP opened in 2000 to make a chemical commonly known as BDO used to make fire hoses, hair mousse, and a slew of other products.

The New Jersey chemical company uses BDO - or 1,4-butanediol - in many products it sells to pharmaceutical, personal care, food, beverage, and other firms, it said in a statement.

An International Specialty spokesman did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.

The company said in a statement it will continue to serve the BDO plant's current customers.

International Specialty has offered jobs to the BDO plant's current employees, all of whom are non-union, said Mary Caprella, a BP spokesman.

The plant is separated from the rest of the chemical complex by the Premcor Inc. refinery, which used to be owned by BP and supplies the BDO plant with butane.

BP, meanwhile, is on track to make the rest of the Lima complex and 23 other petrochemicals operations a stand-alone company on April 1, with the possibility of doing an initial public offering to find investors later this year, Ms. Caprella said.

Selling BP's only BDO plant separately was not part of the original plan to gradually get out of the petrochemicals business announced about a year ago, but the business has found a good owner in International Specialty, which has been a BDO customer, she said.

"We're very pleased with how everything has gone," Ms. Caprella said.

The New Jersey buyer has seven other manufacturing plants in the United States and more than 50 factories, research laboratories, and service offices worldwide.

The rest of the Lima chemical complex has nearly 300 employees. Its primary product is acrylonitrile, a chemical used to make clothing fibers, plastic toys, auto parts, and other items.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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