FMC restarts idled plant, cites export demand

HOUSTON Fri Jan 7, 2011 5:11pm EST

HOUSTON Jan 7 (Reuters) - FMC Corp (FMC.N) said on Friday it will restart a soda-ash plant in Wyoming that has been idled since 2009 due to strong export demand.

FMC temporarily stopped production at its Granger facility as the global economic downturn cut into demand for soda ash, a product used in detergents and glass production.

U.S. export markets have recovered much faster than the domestic market and FMC now expects government export statistics to show record soda ash exports in 2010.

FMC will restart Granger production at a rate of 500,000 tons per year by July 1, the Philadelphia company said.

In another sign that the economy is gathering strength, aluminum maker Alcoa Inc (AA.N) said on Friday it plans to restart three idled smelters in the United States in the first half of 2011. (Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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