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Niagara Falls plant leaves DuPont for Chemours

DuPont’s plant in Niagara Falls is still making reactive metals, but for a different company.

The Buffalo Avenue plant changed corporate hands this week, joining a company spun off by DuPont called Chemours (pronounced kem-ORS). Chemours trades under the ticker symbol “CC” on the New York Stock Exchange. It closed at $16.51 on Thursday, up 8 cents.

There is no change to DuPont’s other plant in the region, the Yerkes plant in the Town of Tonawanda.

The Niagara Falls plant still has about 200 employees, and they continue to make reactive metals for specialty chemicals industries such as pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, and others, said Joe Hausler, the plant manager. “We move into Chemours with the same products, same customers and same employees, many of whom are longtime community residents.”

The debut of Chemours as an independent company was long in the making.

Back in October 2013, DuPont disclosed plans to spin off its performance chemicals segment. At the time, DuPont’s CEO, Ellen Kullman, predicted the result would be “two strong, highly competitive companies.” Experts said sales in DuPont’s performance chemicals segment tended to be volatile, which helped bring about the spinoff decision.

DuPont formed a wholly-owned subsidiary called Chemours, containing the businesses that would be spun off into a new company this month. Chemours consists of 37 production facilities in 12 countries with 9,000 employees, and generated about $6 billion in sales last year.

While now on its own, the new company drew upon leadership and experience from DuPont. The new CEO, Mark Vergnano, was previously an executive vice president at DuPont and called Chemours a “200-year-old start-up.” DuPont and Chemours are both headquartered in Delaware.

While DuPont has long had two plants in the Buffalo Niagara region, they have operated separately, with different plant managers and product lines. The Tonawanda plant, which has about 600 employees, makes Corian, a material used in tabletops, and Tedlar, a thin film used in solar panels and aircraft. The United Steelworkers union represents workers at both locations.