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Eastman Chemical to split into two companies

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eastman Chemical Co. announced Monday it would split into two publicly traded companies by the end of the year, dividing its specialty chemicals division from its plastic packaging operation.

One of the companies will produce specialty chemicals and plastics, such as chemicals for artificial sweeteners and vinyl flooring. The second will concentrate on the manufacturing of acetate fibers and PET plastics, which are used to make soft drink and water bottles.

Neither company has been named, and both will be headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn. Eastman said there were no immediate plans for job cuts.

Eastman's earnings have been erratic since it became an independent, publicly traded company in January 1994. Eastman was founded in 1920 to supply photographic chemicals for Eastman Kodak.

Eastman, which produces more than 400 chemicals, fibers and plastics, has about 8,500 employees at its Kingsport headquarters and some 15,000 worldwide.

Once the split is completed, shareholders will own stock in both companies.

Justice Dept. OKs acquisition

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Bloomberg) -- JDS Uniphase Corp., the biggest maker of fiber-optic components, said it gained U.S. Justice Department approval for its $17.6 billion acquisition of rival SDL Inc.

To satisfy U.S. antitrust concerns, JDS Uniphase agreed to sell a Swiss plant to Nortel Networks Corp. for about $3 billion, the companies said in statements. That transaction also received approval from the Justice Department, which was concerned that the combined JDS Uniphase and SDL would have dominant control over the market for lasers used to amplify signals on the hair-thin strands of glass that make up fiber networks.

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