Now that Honeywell has spun off its Resins and Chemicals division into the standalone AdvanSix Inc, we finally have some corporate transparency about plant operations.
In its first independent announcements over the last two weeks, notably including an operational update and its Q3 2016 earnings report, AdvanSix has provided lots of details of its financial and operational performance, and specified - for the first time - the plant's ammonia capacity.
Also, we learned that the planned turnaround in the fourth quarter was extended by two weeks of unplanned maintenance, which will hit Q4 2016 earnings to the tune of $20-25 million.
As rumored last month, Honeywell yesterday confirmed its plans to spin off its resins and chemicals business, including the ammonia plant at Hopewell, and expects the transaction to be "completed by early 2017."
Bloomberg News ran an article last week suggesting that Honeywell was "considering exiting its business that makes chemicals for manufacturing nylon," which would include its ammonia plant at Hopewell, VA.
Honeywell is working with financial advisers on options for the caprolactam unit, which could be spun off or sold, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't public. The business earmarked for divestment generates an estimated $150 million to $200 million in profit, according to one of the people. It could fetch about $1 billion, a separate person said.
SUMMARY STATUS: Operational
Ammonia production began at Hopewell in 1928, at which time it was the largest ammonia plant in the US. Today, using a plant built in 1965, ammonia is upgraded to caprolactam, for nylon; byproduct ammonium sulfate is sold as fertilizer. Unfortunately, the Hopewell site has a long history as an environmental disaster zone. In October 2016, AdvanSix was launched as a spin-off of Honeywell's resins and chemicals division. AdvanSix expanded the ammonia capacity at Hopewell during the Q4 2016 turnaround.