St Louis, Jun 30, 2008 -- Solutia Inc. (NYSE:SOA) today announced that it has retained HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. to explore strategic alternatives with respect to its nylon business, including a possible sale.
We have transformed our nylon business from a North American-focused fiber business into the world's second-largest producer of nylon 66 plastics, commented Jeffry N. Quinn, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Solutia Inc. The nylon business is on a path for further growth and improvement in financial performance, and we believe strongly in the strategic course we have set for the business. However, given the strength of our high-margin specialty chemical and performance materials businesses and the current industry dynamic in the nylon segment, it is an appropriate time to explore strategic alternatives available with respect to the nylon business that would better position both the nylon business and the rest of Solutia for reaching their ultimate potential.
In 2007, the nylon business generated net sales of $1,892 million or approximately 51% of Solutia's total revenue, and adjusted EBITDAR of $106 million, or 28% of Solutia's total pro forma adjusted EBITDAR. In 2008, first quarter net sales for the nylon business were $468 million, an increase of 10% when compared to the first quarter of 2007; however, the business' adjusted EBITDAR was a loss of $7 million for the quarter, a decrease of $35 million year-over-year, largely due to higher raw material costs that were only partially recovered with higher selling prices in the quarter. In contrast, Solutia's other three business platforms -- Saflex(r), CPFilms(r), and Technical Specialties, which generated net sales of $1,850 million and adjusted EBITDAR of $270 million in 2007, generated $108 million in adjusted EBITDAR in the first quarter 2008, an increase of 23% over the same period in 2007.
Solutia's nylon business is one of only two world wide businesses that own the complete range of technology to produce nylon 66. The business is able to efficiently serve global markets from its integrated set of world-scale, flexible assets located in North America. During 2007, 28% of the business' sales came from Asia. With its 2008 addition of 68,000 metric tons of capacity for Vydyne(r) and Ascend(r) nylon 66 resins and polymers, that percentage is expected to rise further, driven by rapidly growing demand among Asian producers of automotive, electrical, and consumer goods.