***UPDATED 5:45 p.m. June 30, 2016***
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A long-standing Augusta company announced hundreds of people will be out of a job by next year.
By next fall as many as 600 people, both contractors and direct employees of Fibrant, a chemical company many know as DSM will be out of a job.
Vice President of Finance and Administration David Leach issued a press release Thursday morning stating Fibrant, LLC will wind down U.S. operations and its Augusta, Georgia plant.
I sat down with Walter Sprouse, the Executive Director of Augusta Development Authority to see what these layoffs mean for the city’s economic development.
“If one person loses their job that’s difficult,” Sprouse said during an interview. This facility, ironically, was doing rather well, but a lot of the product that they make they export, they export it to China and they’re already making this stuff in China so obviously the transportation cost was another big factor.”
The 50-year-old company is calling the closure of the business a wind down, happening over a 16 month period. Leach said Fibrant manufactures a product called caprolactam, which is a precursor to Nylon. Nylon is used in carpet, clothing, and engineered plastics.
He added the decision to close was made after the company saw 25-year lows in profitability of its products.
While the wind down means hundreds will soon be out of a job, Sprouse feels confident some may rebound.
“EZ Go, Textron adding 450 new jobs, EdenCrete adding 250 jobs, Huntsman adding about 200 jobs. Two out of the three of those are chemical related,” he said.
Leach added all employees will receive a severance package.
***POSTED 9:33 a..m. June 30, 2016***
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A chemical supply plant in east Augusta has announced it plans to close within 16 months.
Fibrant, LLC says operations at its Augusta plant and its U.S. business will gradually wind down as a result of commodity pricing and global supply and demand. The plant is formerly known as DSM Chemicals, and has been in Augusta since 1966.
“Sadly, despite the excellent work of our employees and management, our business has been challenged by extended unfavorable market conditions,” said Pol DeTurck, CEO of Fibrant. “The market price for our product, caprolactam, has dropped substantially below the production cost, and prospects for recovery are poor. As a result, we reached the difficult decision that a wind down of the business was the only viable course of action.”
In a press release sent to NewsChannel 6, Fibrant says it “will meet all obligations to its employees, and serve the needs of its customers to the extent possible.”