Sunoco Inc. announced Wednesday it is 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," said Honeywell spokesman Peter Dalpe.

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.

He said Honeywell also believes it can grow profitable sales of phenol, which is currently in tight supply.

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 expects to incur mostly non-cash pretax charges of about $125 million-$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 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 non-core assets and focusing on our retail and logistics businesses," she said in a statement.

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.