DuPont in final stage of switch over to Koch

By Ronald MacArthur

It’s decision time for the 650 employees at the Seaford INVISTA plant. According to Renee Phillips, site services manager at the plant, transition teams from Koch and DuPont began meeting with employees last week to discuss compensation and benefit options once the sale of the plant to Koch Industries is finalized. Phillips said the sale to the Koch subsidiaries KED Fiber, Ltd. and KED Fiber, LLC is expected to be completed sometime during the first quarter of 2004. The name will remain INVISTA. The sale was reported to be $4.4 billion in cash and include 50 plants employing 18,000 people. The former Seaford DuPont plant was opened in 1939 and was the first plant in the world to manufacture nylon. “The employees have some very important decisions to make,” Phillips said. “All of the current employees got offers of employment,” she added. “Regarding the compensation and benefits packages, the overall net effect is that they are substantially similar to the existing plans,” she said. “When they make a decision, they will have an array of benefits packages to choose from.”
The biggest change in the environment at the plant will be dealing with retirees. “All DuPont pension-eligible employees, based on age and service, at the close will retire under the DuPont plan,” Phillips said. “Then they will have another decision to make if they want to join the new INVISTA with Koch.” In other words, some employees will retire and then be rehired. Phillips said that the plant is busy preparing for the transition. “We don’t know of any major changes right now,” she said. “We still produce nylon and we haven’t changed any product lineups.” The sale of INVISTA, formerly DuPont Textiles & Interiors, to Koch Industries (headquartered in Wichita, Kan.) was announced Nov. 17, 2003. Koch is a privately held company that owns companies in more than 30 countries in core industries trading in chemicals, petroleum, natural gas, gas liquids, asphalt, resins and fibers, minerals, fertilizers, chemical technology equipment, ranching, securities and finance, as well as other ventures and investments. “This is a major milestone in the ongoing transformation of DuPont,” said DuPont chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday, Jr. “Now that one of the most significant changes in our 201-year history is moving forward toward completion, we can focus on positioning DuPont for growth.” “By combining INVISTA’s many capabilities and strong brands, primarily in nylon and spandex, with the polyester business of our KoSa subsidiaries, we will create a diverse company, well-positioned to compete in the global fibers and resins market,” said Charles G. Koch, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries.

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