The world celebrated the turn of the millennium, as the dreaded Y2K bug never materialized. The internet contributed to globalization allowing faster communication among people around the world.
Following the demerger from Hoechst A.G., Celanese A.G. acquired the polyvinyl alcohol business from Air Products, which strengthened the acetyl chain product line. Then in 2000, Celanese inaugurated a 500,000 metric ton per year acetic plant in Singapore.
Significant technological progress led to process improvements in acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer in 2001, and construction began on a new and expanded Ticona plant to produce GUR ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.
On September 11, 2001 in the U.S., the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group, known as Al-Qaeda, hijacked four U.S. airliners, two of which crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew attempted to regain control of the plane. These attacks were the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history, killing almost 3000 people, including the 19 terrorists.
Though the 911 terrorist attacks occurred in the U.S., the blow was felt around the world. Stock markets around the world nosedived, gas and oil prices soared and airline travel declined substantially, causing multiple airlines to file for bankruptcy despite a $15 billion aid package from the government.
Despite global turmoil, Celanese continued to grow and thrive, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Ruhrchemie site in Oberhausen, Germany. In 2002, the company acquired European emulsions and global emulsion powders businesses from Clariant A.G. and formed a joint venture with Hatco Corporation for the production and marketing of neopolyol esters.
Celanese agreed to sell its acrylates business to Dow Chemical in 2003, and they completed the joint venture of the oxo businesses with Degussa A.G.
Also in 2003, combined forces of U.S., U.K, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq in order to disarm the country of weapons of mass destruction and to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism. In addition, China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, completed China’s first successful space launch from the Jiuquan launch site in the western Gobi Desert.
Shortly thereafter, the company began preparations to build a world-scale 600,000 metric ton acetic acid plant in China. Celanese announced an agreement with China National Tobacco Corporation to double the capacities of three acetate tow joint ventures.
In December of 2003, Blackstone Capital Partners announced their intent to launch a voluntary public offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Celanese A.G. Shareholders formally approved the offer from Blackstone in June 2004, and Blackstone completed the acquisition of Celanese A.G., delisting them from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and formally changing the name to Celanese Corporation. Blackstone subsequently took Celanese private and redomiciled to the U.S.
In November of 2004, Celanese Corporation was headquartered in Dallas and served as the parent company of North American operations and Celanese A.G.
Following a successful initial public offering (IPO), Celanese became a publicly traded corporation on the NYSE (NYSE:CE) in January 2005.
That same year, the Space Shuttle Discovery – the first mission since the tragedy of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 – went into orbit and returned safely to Cape Canaveral, Florida. In Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast claiming more than 1,800 lives and ranking as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
In 2006, Celanese reached an agreement with Frankfurt Airport to relocate the Kelsterbach, Germany site, resolving several years of legal disputes related to the planned Frankfurt airport expansion.
Celanese opened an integrated chemical complex in Nanjing, China in September 2007. The complex, located at the Nanjing Chemical Industrial Park, brought world-class scale to one site for the production of acetic acid, vinyl acetate monomer, acetic anhydride, emulsions, Celstran® long fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (LFRT) and GUR® ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE).
Blackstone sold the final tranche of Celanese stock in 2007 to complete its exit from what was known as Europe’s most successful buyout. The company made more than $5 billion in profit from Celanese over three years.
Celanese opened its new Houston Technology Center (HTC) in early March 2008. The 31,200-square foot facility housed the research and development and technical services groups for the company’s emulsion polymers and polyvinyl alcohol businesses.
In December 2009, Celanese announced the acquisition of the long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFRT) business of FACT GmbH (Future Advanced Composites Technology) of Kaiserslautern, Germany, a business unit of the Ravago Group. Then in June, the company completed the sale of its polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) business to Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. and later announced the sale of its Films business’ AT Plastics subsidiary to British Polythene Industries PLC in August 2009.
To learn more about Celanese in the 2000s, visit our interactive digital timeline and follow us on social media. Thank you for following the 100 Year Anniversary blog.
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