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Eastman Chemical Co. will pay $3.38 billion to pick up specialty-chemicals maker Solutia Inc.

“The addition of Solutia will broaden our geographic reach into emerging geographies, particularly Asia Pacific,” said Eastman Chairman and Chief Executive Jim Rogers.

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Solutia, based in St. Louis, makes materials and specialty chemicals used in the automotive and architectural industries. Eastman Chemical has approximately 10,000 employees worldwide, while Solutia has about 3,400 workers globally.

Eastman Chemical, based in Kingsport, TN, spun off from photography pioneer Eastman Kodak Co. in 1994, according to the company’s web site.

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The deal comes amid near-term demand concerns in the chemicals sector, highlighted by DuPont’s fourth-quarter results earlier this week.

In consideration of the potential purchase, Eastman said it now expects full-year earnings of about $5 a share, excluding acquisition-related costs. The company had previously seen a full-year profit above the $4.56 recorded a year earlier.

The company said it has also identified about $100 million of annual cost savings it expects to achieve by the end of 2013 through the reduction of corporate costs, raw material synergies, and improved manufacturing and supply chain processes.

The transaction, approved by the boards of both companies, remains subject to approval by Solutia’s shareholders and regulatory approval.

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