Sunoco Inc. announced Wednesday it was selling its Frankford phenol and acetone plant for $85 million, the latest asset divestiture by the Philadelphia refiner.

The buyer, Honeywell International Inc., says it will keep the 162 employees at the manufacturing facility.

"We do expect to add some positions within both the production and supply chain areas, as well as key functional support areas," Honeywell spokesman Peter Dalpe said.

Phenol is a raw material used in manufacturing nylon. The Frankford plant supplies a Honeywell plant in Virginia, Dalpe said.

"Owning the plant secures long-term access to phenol and gives Honeywell an opportunity to improve the plant and its operations to ensure a more reliable, low-cost supply of phenol," he said in an e-mail.

Honeywell also believes it can profitably increase sales of phenol, currently in tight supply, he said.

For Honeywell, the purchase represents a reunion. AlliedSignal Inc., which merged with Honeywell in 1999, sold the plant to Sunoco in 1998 for $157 million.

Sunoco said it expected to incur mostly noncash pretax charges of $125 million to $150 million in the second quarter of 2011. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter.

Sunoco retained the Frankford facility last year after selling its chemicals unit to the Brazilian petrochemical producer Braskem S.A.

Sunoco still owns and operates a second phenol plant in Haverhill, Ohio.

The divestiture is Sunoco's latest asset sale during the 33-month tenure of chief executive officer Lynn L. Elsenhans.

"The sale of Sunoco's Frankford phenol manufacturing facility is another step in our efforts to unlock value for shareholders by divesting certain noncore assets and focusing on our retail and logistics businesses," she said in a statement.

Sunoco Deals

Notable Sunoco Inc. transactions since Lynn

L. Elsenhans took over

as chief executive in August 2008:

 February 2009 - Announces plans to sell 150 retail outlets in two years to generate $180 million.

March 2009 - Cuts one-fifth of salaried workforce to save $300 million annually.

May 2009 - Buys bankrupt Upstate New York ethanol distillery for $8.5 million.

June 2009 - Unloads Tulsa, Okla., oil refinery for $65 million.

September 2009 - Sells heating-oil and propane-distribution business for $82.5 million.

October 2009 - Shuts down Eagle Point oil refinery in Gloucester County, saving $250 million annually.

February 2010 - Divests chemicals subsidiary for $350 million.

June 2010 - Announces plans to spin off SunCoke Energy subsidiary in 2011.

December 2010 - Sells Toledo, Ohio, refinery

for $400 million and

cuts 175 more headquarters jobs.

May 2011 - Sells Frankford phenol and acetone plant for $85 million.

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Contact staff writer Andrew Maykuth at 215-854-2947 or amaykuth@phillynews.com.
Inquirer staff writers Harold Brubaker and Joseph N. DiStefano contributed to this article.