ExxonMobil Corp. has purchased a nearly 94-acre site next to its Scenic Highway facility for $5.6 million.
The adjoining site at 5995 Scenic Highway is the home of the former Lion Copolymer Services facility, which is not in operation. Geismar-based Lion Copolymer sold the property in a deal filed Thursday.
There are no immediate plans for new operations at the Lion Copolymer site, said Stephanie Cargile, an ExxonMobil spokeswoman. ExxonMobil bought the property as a unique opportunity to tie into its facility and position the plant for future investments, she said.
"Any future operations at this facility will have the same focus on safety, operational excellence and corporate citizenship as our existing ExxonMobil Baton Rouge sites," Cargile said in a statement.
Lion Copolymer bought the plant out of bankruptcy in June for $5.6 million, according to ICIS News, which tracks the chemical industry. The plant makes emulsion styrene butadiene rubber, which can be used in products that include car and light truck tires, cable insulation, shoe soles, brake pads, houseware mats and conveyor belts. It also can make nitrile butadiene rubber, which is oil-resistant and used in fuel hoses, gaskets and rollers.
East West Copolymer shut down the plant in March and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April. At the time, East West said it had total liabilities of just under $50 million and about $16.6 million in real and personal property.
Ironically, East West bought the Scenic Highway plant from Lion Copolymer in early 2014, when the company got out of the rubber-making business. The U.S. government opened the plant in 1943, making it one of the world’s first commercial producers of synthetic rubber.
The low cost of natural gas has created opportunities for ExxonMobil to invest in chemical facilities. The Baton Rouge facilities compete against those in Texas for those new projects. ExxonMobil's area plants employ more than 6,600 people.