Westlake Chemical Idles Ethylene Plant

Westlake Chemical Idles Ethylene Plant

HOUSTON, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE: WLK), the Houston-based petrochemical and fabricated products company, today announced that it is idling one of its ethylene plants in Lake Charles, Louisiana due to significant customer inventory destocking and resulting weakened demand of the company's derivative products. A maintenance turnaround scheduled for this plant for the first half of 2009 will be brought forward to be performed during this down time.

The company's plants have been operating at reduced rates since the third quarter of this year due to the general weakened demand as a result of the continued deterioration in the U.S. and global economies and as a reaction to the concurrent sharp product price declines due to the recent collapse in energy and feedstock prices. In an effort to manage the build up of excess inventories and to control costs the company elected to idle the ethylene unit noted above until the market and demand recover.

Lower production, weakened product demand and inventory write downs due to sharp drop in product prices will have a materially negative impact on the company's fourth quarter and full year 2008 results. The company does not anticipate further significant inventory write downs unless there are further material decreases in energy, feedstock and product prices.

"The slowing economic environment is having a more substantial impact on consumer demand and the entire supply chain than previously anticipated, resulting in reduced volumes and margins in our businesses," said Albert Chao, president and chief executive officer. "Our balance sheet and liquidity remain strong and we will build on that strong financial position and continue prudent financial discipline in response to current market challenges. Westlake's product mix and competitive assets are well positioned to create value for our shareholders as the economy improves."

Westlake Chemical Corporation is a manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and fabricated products with headquarters in Houston, Texas. The company's range of products includes ethylene, polyethylene, styrene, propylene, VCM, PVC and PVC pipe, windows and fence. For more information visit the company's web page at http://www.westlake.com.

The statements in this release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially, based on factors including, but not limited to, national and global economic conditions, changes in the financial markets and the company's results of operations. For more detailed information about the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to Westlake's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, which was filed in February 2008.

SOURCE  Westlake Chemical Corporation

    -0-                           12/17/2008
    /CONTACT:  David R. Hansen, Media Relations, or Steven Bender Investor
Relations, both of Westlake Chemical Corporation, +1-713-960-9111/
    /Web Site:  http://www.westlake.com /

CO:  Westlake Chemical Corporation

ST:  Texas, Louisiana

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9987 12/17/2008 06:00 EST http://www.prnewswire.com
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