NEW YORK — Eyeing solid growth in world nylon usage, the head of DuPont’s global nylon business reported last week that the company is “on track” with a $750 million restructuring that will make its nylon unit the most competitive in the world.
“We are going to drive to the absolute global cost and technology leadership in nylon production,” said Eduard Van Wely, vice president and general manager of DuPont Nylon.
“That will allows us to leverage our strength globally and into a strong, profitable position in the market.”
Van Wely’s comments came during a press conference here updating the chemical giant’s progress in nylon.
DuPont’s consolidation of nylon production into modernized facilities, he said, is “on track, and that is already resulting in yield improvement.” He added, “That will make our business less susceptible to cyclicality and better able to withstand recession conditions.”
By 2002, he said, nylon unit earnings will exceed the cost of capital spending by 14 percent, compared to 10 percent from 1992 through 1997.
Van Wely said growth in the world nylon market is projected at an annual rate of 6 to 9 percent through 2002, boosting DuPont’s revenues in all nylon products, which is basically type 6,6, from the current $6 billion to $8.5 billion.
Apparel, which accounts for 35 percent of DuPont’s nylon fiber business, has already benefited from the improvements.
“Apparel used to be the weakest of our nylon segments; now it’s the strongest,” Van Wely said. “New spinning platforms being installed at factories around the world will enable us to produce more, and more consistent, nylon that is more uniform in spinning.”
The massive five-year restructuring, announced in November 1996, will slash $700 million in operating costs and 2,000 jobs from DuPont’s bloated nylon chemical and specialties unit through a combination of consolidation, waste reduction, global alliances and modernization of a production line that in some places dates from the Thirties.
DuPont claims a dominant 58 percent share of the $10 billion world market for type 6,6 nylon, more than 40 percent ahead of Solutia.

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