Eastman Chemical and Hercules have announced that the companies or their subsidiaries have signed a definitive agreement.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., and Hercules Inc., Wilmington, Del., have announced that the companies or their subsidiaries have signed a definitive agreement by which Eastman will acquire Hercules’ hydrocarbon resins and select portions of the rosins resins businesses.

“The businesses we’re acquiring from Hercules will allow us to offer our customers a broader range of products and services in the adhesives industry for end uses such as nonwovens, packaging, and tapes and labels,” said Earnest W. Deavenport Jr., Eastman chairman and chief executive officer.

“This signing brings us closer to completing the most recent in a series of acquisitions over the past several years that support our strategy to improve earnings growth through our coatings, adhesives, inks and specialty polymers product lines,” Deavenport said.

“The sale of these resins businesses marks another important step in our plan to maximize shareholder value,” said Thomas L. Gossage, Hercules chairman and chief executive officer. “And we also are pleased that the employees and customers of these resins businesses will go forward with Eastman, whose commitment to resins is longstanding and strategic.”

Annual revenues from the Hercules businesses are about $290 million. Based on 2000 results, the transaction is expected to increase Eastman’s presence in the coatings, adhesives, specialty polymers and inks product lines to approximately $2 billion in annual revenues.

Hercules facilities included in the acquisition are in Jefferson, Pa.; Middelburg, the Netherlands; Stonehouse, England (leased); and Uruapan, Mexico. Additionally, unit operations will be acquired, then operated under contract with Hercules, at shared facilities in Savannah, Ga., and Franklin, Va. Although products will be made for Eastman at resin operations at Hattiesburg, Miss.; Brunswick, Ga.; Tampere, Finland; and Sobernheim, Germany, ownership will remain with Hercules. Approximately 700 employees will be offered positions with Eastman as a result of this acquisition.

For more information, visit Eastman’s Web site at www.eastman.com, or the Hercules Web site at www.herc.com.