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Chemical company Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN - Free Report) is investing $1.6 billion for expansion in Tennessee, according to Associated Press. The move is expected to create 300 new job opportunities over a period of 7 years.

Eastman Chemical intends to invest in new growth opportunities, safety and environmental projects, added warehouse space, building renovations and expansion of its corporate campus in Kingsport.

Eastman Chemical is the largest employer in northeast Tennessee region that has more than 7,000 employees. The company expects the expansion named “Project Inspire” will be completed during its 100th year in Kingsport.

Eastman Chemical reported mixed first-quarter 2013 results, with adjusted earnings topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate but sales missing the same. Revenues rose at a healthy double-digit clip, driven by the contributions of Solutia acquisition. The company reaffirmed its earnings guidance for the full year.

Eastman Chemical’s diversified chemical portfolio along with its integrated and diverse downstream businesses remain its strength. It also benefits from business restructuring and cost-cutting measures.

The acquisition of Solutia represents a major step in Eastman Chemical’s strategy to boost its foothold in the emerging markets, especially in Asia Pacific. Factoring in the synergies of Solutia acquisition, the company expects a 17%-19% annualized rise in earnings in 2013.

Eastman Chemical should also benefit from increased capacity additions. The company is also making progress in its growth initiatives through its joint venture in China for a 30,000-ton acetate tow manufacturing facility, which is expected to come online in third quarter 2013.

Eastman Chemical currently maintains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the chemical industry with favorable Zacks Rank are Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. (SHECY - Free Report) ), Celanese Corporation (CE - Free Report) and Methanex Corporation (MEOH - Free Report) . All of them hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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