Nearly 70 years after starting chemical production, the PPG Industries plant in Marshall County will now operate under the Axiall Corp. banner after finalizing a $2.1 billion deal with Georgia Gulf.
"This merger of two industry-leading organizations creates an integrated chemicals and building products company well positioned to benefit from North America's natural gas cost advantage as well as the recovery of the U.S. housing market," said Paul Carrico, president and chief executive officer of Axiall Corp.
The newly formed company now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AXLL. PPG Industries will continue as its own business with headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh.
"I want to congratulate and thank the employees of both organizations," Carrico said. "Some were directly involved in helping to complete this merger, and many others provided indirect support by ensuring that we operated our businesses safely and effectively throughout this process. In both cases, they played a vital role in the successful creation of Axiall."
Axiall is expected to be the third-largest chlor-alkali producer and second-largest vinyl chloride monomer producer in North America.
The Natrium plant-located north of Proctor along state Route 2-manufactures chemicals, primarily chlorine, caustic soda, muriatic acid, and calcium hypochlorite. These chemicals have a wide variety of end-uses including water purification, paper and plastics production, and as key building blocks for pharmaceuticals.
Despite the name change, Natrium Plant Manager Jim Rock said the approximately 500 workers on site should expect business to continue as usual.
The plant is also located right in the center of the burgeoning Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas boom. As part of this, PPG in 2011 signed a drilling lease with Gastar Exploration to possibly gain about $50 million for Gastar drilling 30 wells on 3,300 acres of PPG land near the Natrium site.
To facilitate its operations, Gastar constructed a new concrete road leading from state Route 2 near the PPG plant to the well sites at the top of the hill. About halfway up the hill, Rock said, PPG is drilling a new well to retrieve brine water from the earth that the company uses as its "raw material" for chemical production.
Additionally, Axiall is continuing to form its board of directors. Appointed to the board Jan. 28 were Victoria Haynes, Michael McGarry, and Robert Ripp.
"I am pleased to welcome three new directors who have deep business experience and a solid understanding of the commodity chemicals industry," said Axiall Chairman Mark Noetzel.
"We look forward to their contributions in helping to ensure the newly launched Axiall Corp. provides long-term shareholder value."