Solutia Inc (NYSE: SOI) has announced the start up of its new acrylonitrile (AN) plant at its Alvin, Texas (Chocolate Bayou) location.

Solutia is the world's largest consumer of acrylonitrile. The new AN plant, which makes Chocolate Bayou the largest AN facility in the world, with one billion pounds of capacity, will further "back integrate" the company's nylon and acrylic fibre businesses in this key component. The AN produced at the Chocolate Bayou site will not only supply Solutia's internal businesses; it will also be sold in the AN marketplace. The majority of Solutia's merchant market AN from the new unit is already under contract for the next several years.

"With the start up of this plant, three of the world's 12 billion pounds of AN capacity come from plants that were either built by Monsanto or Solutia or use our technology," said John Ferguson, senior vice president and general manager for Solutia's integrated nylon chain. Solutia licenses its technology and sells its proprietary catalysts to other AN manufacturers.

"We now have an extremely efficient, reliable source of this key material, which will in large part replace our need for merchant purchases, and which supports our corporation's dedication to growth through additional sales of AN," Ferguson said.

Solutia (www.solutia.com) is one of the few companies in the world with a fully integrated infrastructure for manufacturing nylon. Products include carpet fibres like those in the Wear-Dated family of products; nylon 6,6 for engineering thermoplastics, Ascend nylon plastics and polymers for textiles, specialty and automotive applications; and Acrilan acrylic fibres for upholstery and apparel.