DECATUR, Ala. - BP has put its plant in Decatur on the market, as part of a broader reorganization of the company's global petrochemicals business.
BP employs about 400 people at its Decatur complex, which is located on Finley Island Road.
The company is spending $200 million to upgrade its plants in South Carolina and Belgium, and says the investment will enable those locations to lower operating costs, improve reliability and reduce emissions.
"I have spoken with local management and they have assured me that the operation will continue working and their first goal is to protect the employees," says Decatur Mayor Don Kyle. "And of course, they have a lot of contract people on the site in addition to those 400 that are direct employees. I'm encouraged by that but I'm most encouraged by the knowledge that there are a great number of products produced on that particular site."
Kyle says as a former banker he's not surprised in the least at the business move. He says Fortune 500 companies quite regularly mature, wish to diversify and look for capital raising assets.
"I expect it will continue to be a tremendous job producer for us," Kyle assured. "They done nothing but continue to invest tens of hundreds of millions of dollars into that location. It's a good fixture in the community; that's not the kind of asset that somebody gives up. It's going to have a high value to somebody outside of BP and you know it wouldn't be unusual to see a corporation plan for a sale and then determine that the value may be a little better than they want to get rid of. So, we'll have to see who the players are to get a better feel but I again am confident that the employees will retain their jobs, the contractor will still be working and that site will producing a lot of good, high-quality products for others for years to come."
BP said Tuesday its Decatur complex has been a "major contributor" to the company's U.S. petrochemicals business for many years.
“The decision to explore a sale of this facility was not taken lightly. It has been a significant part of our company and of the Decatur community for a very long time,” said Rita Griffin, chief operating officer of BP Global Petrochemicals. “We believe the site -- and its more than 400 employees -- would be a very attractive addition to the portfolio of another operator. We’re determined to find a buyer who will recognize its value and keep it a viable and vibrant part of the region for years to come.”
BP expects to complete a sale of all or part of the facility provided a buyer can be found and an acceptable deal can be reached.
BP posted more information in a news release on its website.