Optima Chemical to spend $10M on DuPont’s equipment, plant upgrades

BellePlant

CHRIS DORST | Gazette-Mail Optima Chemical, which bought a couple of units from DuPont at the company’s Belle plant earlier this year, received preliminary approval for a low-interest $2.25 million loan to buy some of DuPont’s remaining assets at the plant. The plant now has a sign for Chemours, a company spun off by DuPont earlier this year. –

Optima Chemical, the Georgia-based company that took over part of the old DuPont chemical plant in Belle, is purchasing some of DuPont’s remaining assets at the plant in eastern Kanawha County. The West Virginia Economic Development Authority voted Thursday to preliminarily approve a $2.25 million low-interest loan for Optima, which now controls two production units at the facility. The approval of the 10 year loan, which has an interest rate of 0.75 percent, comes five months after Optima and DuPont agreed to the purchase of the Belle units and follows the recent announcement that Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont would be merging in a $130 billion deal. Frederick Wirth, Optima’s chief financial officer, said the loan is only part of a larger $10 million investment at the Belle plant, which is the company’s second production location. The company, Wirth said, plans to use the loan money to finance equipment purchases from DuPont and upgrades to the plant. Optima sells portions of the agricultural chemicals it produces in Belle to DuPont, he said. With the multi-million dollar investment, Wirth said the intent is to increase business at the plant to make it sustainable. According to WVEDA documents, the $2.25 million loan for Optima is expected to help the company grow its employment numbers from the 10 people it currently employs to 30 people in 2018. Board members also voted Thursday to insure a $500,000 loan from the Davis Trust Company that would be used by the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, a short-line railroad in Pocohontas County, to finance their operations. The loan is expected to grow the company’s employment from 42 full-time jobs and 15 seasonal positions to about 80 combined positions.The WVEDA board also gave final approval to $1.1 million loan for Skana Aluminum Company for an expansion at the company’s Harrison County location and a $2 million loan to the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, which is financing the construction of a building at the old Taylor Pottery plant in Chester. Reach Andrew Brown at [email protected]