Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Korean Firm Saves Chemicals Business

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Korean Firm Saves Chemicals Business

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Dent

MORE THAN 130 jobs are to be created and 41 secured after Artenius UK was bought out of administration by a Korean-owned chemicals giant.

The deal means more than half of the 250 people who lost their jobs when the Wilton International-based speciality chemicals maker was put into administration by debt-laden Spanish parent company La Seda will be asked to return.

A pounds 1.8m Grant for Business Investment was approved by One North East to sweeten the deal for new owners Lotte Chemical UK Limited (LCUK), a British-based subsidiary of Korea's KP Chemical Corporation. The actual price paid for the business has not been revealed.

LCUK will take over all Artenius's operational assets, including the PTA [Purified Terephthalic Acid] and PET [Polyethylene Terephthalate] manufacturing facilities at Wilton near Redcar, which produce chemicals for plastics used in the food and drink packaging industry. The deal, which must be cleared by EC competition authorities, includes the transfer of the 41 workers kept on to maintain the site when it was mothballed.

Daniel Butter, a partner with administrators Deloitte, said: "We are delighted to have successfully signed the asset transfer agreement, which will secure the employment of the remaining workforce at Wilton as well as creating significant new employment opportunities in the local area." The new owner will start work immediately to take the plant out of mothballs and aims to start production within weeks.

KP Chemical president and chief executive, Soo-Young Huh, said: "LCUK looks forward to a long and successful partnership with key suppliers and customers in Europe.

"This acquisition represents the next steps in the globalisation plans of the Lotte Group which intends to reach around $40bn turnover in its chemical division over the next eight years.

"The start-up of this business will be a significant challenge but I am confident the team will achieve this, and I am anticipating watching the first product leave the site in early April. …

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