BATON ROUGE, La.—East West Copolymer has sold its synthetic rubber manufacturing facility in Baton Rouge, apparently ending the plant's 74-year run.
Lion Copolymer Holdings L.L.C., a sister company of Lion Elastomers, offered $5.6 million for East West's styrene-butadiene rubber and nitrile-butadiene rubber manufacturing assets in a sale that was part of East West's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
The Lion Elastomers website posted a notice June 2, saying the bankruptcy court approved the sale May 19. The transaction closed one week later, on May 26, the notice said.
Lion Copolymer Holdings made the highest bid of three made on the property, according to Greg Nelson, East West CEO and president.
East West Copolymer began life in 1943 as the Copolymer Corp. It became DSM Copolymer in 1989 and Lion Copolymer in 2005.
In late 2013, Lion Copolymer announced the temporary closure of the Baton Rouge facility. In early 2014, a group led by Nelson—who became CEO of Lion Copolymer in 2008—reached an agreement to purchase the plant and renamed it East West Copolymer.
East West Copolymer was forced into Chapter 11 after one of its lenders decided to withdraw from supporting the company, said Nelson in an interview.
The Baton Rouge plant closed March 31, 2017, laying off approximately 110 workers. A maintenance crew stayed onsite for several weeks more, performing necessary shutdown duties, Mike Matthews, business manager for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 216, said at the time.
"The site will be decommissioned and will remain idled while Lion Elastomers evaluates its strategic options," the company said in its statement.
Officials of Lion Elastomers could not be reached for further comment. However, Nelson said he expected that the Baton Rouge plant would not be reopened.