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Marshall County chemical plant changes hands

Intellligencer/Wheeling News-Register photo by Casey Junkins Just three years after Axiall Corp. took over operations at the Natrium chemical plant, Westlake Chemical Corp. will acquire the facility as part of a $3.8 billion transaction.
Intellligencer/Wheeling News-Register photo by Casey Junkins
Just three years after Axiall Corp. took over operations at the Natrium chemical plant, Westlake Chemical Corp. will acquire the facility as part of a $3.8 billion transaction.

NATRIUM, W.Va. —  Just three years after Axiall Corp. placed its logo on the former PPG chemical plant along W.Va. 2 in southern Marshall County, the facility will again change ownership as part of Westlake Chemical Corp.’s $3.8 billion acquisition.

Boards of directors for both Houston-based Westlake and Atlanta-based Axiall agreed to the terms, with the transaction expected to be complete before the end of the year.

“We believe that after this transaction, we will be better able to serve our customers with a more diversified portfolio that should create significant value and growth opportunities for Westlake stockholders. We have tremendous respect for Axiall’s employees and look forward to working closely with them to achieve these goals,” Westlake President and CEO Albert Chao said.

Officials said the deal will make Westlake the third-largest chlor-alkali producer and second-largest polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, producer in North America.

Westlake officials also said they look forward to working with Lotte Chemical on its joint venture with Axiall to build an ethane cracker in Lake Charles, La. This petrochemical plant is expected to refine some of the ethane extracted from local Marcellus and Utica shale operations.

“This transaction aligns two remarkable companies, creates a company with greater financial and operational flexibility and accelerates our growth strategy,” Chao added.

Axiall formed in early 2013 when PPG Industries sold its chemical business to the former Georgia Gulf Corp., with the combined firm taking the Axiall name. Pittsburgh-based PPG remains a Fortune 500 company manufacturing paint and glass.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Westlake, which provides our stockholders with immediate recognition of the long-term value of our company, underscoring our board’s commitment to maximizing stockholder value,” Axiall President and CEO Timothy Mann Jr. said. “We believe this strategic combination will drive significant value for our customers and business partners as we create a North American chlorovinyls leader with a highly integrated chain, diverse product portfolio and a globally competitive cost structure. We look forward to working closely with the Westlake team to ensure a smooth transition and complete the transaction as expeditiously as possible.”

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