By  on March 29, 1994

NEW YORK -- The long-pending joint venture between Allied Signal Corp. and BASF Corp. to merge their nylon carpet fibers and textile nylon businesses could be a reality by the end of May, according to Deiter Stein, president of BASF.

The project, which is being looked over by the Federal Trade Commission, "is still a fluid situation at this time, but in the second quarter we hope to have a deal," said Stein, who outlined BASF's 1994 business plans Wednesday at a press briefing at the Plaza Hotel here.

As reported, the joint venture, announced last October, calls for the firms to merge their carpet fibers and textile nylon businesses into a separate company; Allied and BASF each will hold a 50 percent stake.

Headquarters for the new firm, which has yet to be named, will be in Charlotte, N.C., Stein said.

He added that the 2,500 employees in BASF's fibers business would move to the joint venture, but acknowledged there could be "some job loss."

"However," he added, "we hope most of it will be through attrition."

BASF facilities included in the joint venture are both in South Carolina -- one in Clemson, one in Anderson.

The Allied facilities involved in the venture are in Columbia, S.C., and Chesterfield, Va. The company's fibers business employs about 2,500.

Both firms' caprolactam operations -- the raw fiber used to make nylon -- will remain with the respective parents. In addition, Allied will retain its nylon and polyester industrial fibers businesses.

BASF, which had been trying to sell its polyester operation at Lowland, Tenn., will close that business in June.

The fibers division is the smallest segment of BASF's business, with 1993 sales of $970 million -- less than 10 percent going to apparel. Allied's 1992 sales in its engineered materials division, of which fibers are a part, were $2.6 billion. Allied doesn't break out its fibers business.

"Looking at it in its totality, we expect roughly $1 billion in sales, split evenly between the two sides," said John Hutchins, vice president and general manager of Allied's textile nylon group.Hutchins said the organizational hierarchy of the joint venture hasn't been determined.

"And," he added, "it's too early to tell what is going to happen with the Allied people at the Columbia and Chesterfield plants."

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