NEW YORK--Citing the increased demand for polyester staple, Hoechst Celanese said Thursday that it is expanding its annual capacity in North America for that fiber by about 200 million pounds over the next three years.
The initial part of the expansion--a 50-million-pound increase--should be completed by June, according to Grover Smith Jr., director of Hoechst's polyester staple business unit.
The increase will include new equipment and will end the existing bottlenecks being experienced at Hoechst's five existing North American operations: Salisbury, N.C.; Spartanburg, S.C.; Millhaven, Ontario, Canada; Queretaro, Mexico, and Toluca, Mexico.
Hoechst officials wouldn't divulge the total cost of the project.
When completed, the increase will bring Hoechst's total polyester staple capacity to approximately 1.3 billion pounds.
"We see a growth in polyester staple for all of our product categories, which include apparel, high loft, home fashions, sheetings, floor coverings and industrial end uses," said Smith. "The expansion will also allow us to maintain polyester staple leadership in North America," Smith added. "It will involve a small capital investment on the part of Hoechst Celanese, and we believe it will make us the lowest-cost polyester staple producer in the world."
This latest hike in polyester staple capacity follows an expansion completed in late 1993 when, as part of a $600 million restructuring and investment program, 125 million pounds of staple production was added to the Queretaro plant.

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