Celanese's operations are primarily located in North America, Europe, and Asia. Its largest plant is in the Clear Lake area of Pasadena, Texas, United States the home to the world's largest acetic acid plant. In 2016, Celanese reported net sales of $5.4 billion.
The American Cellulose and Chemical Manufacturing Co. Ltd plant in Cumberland, Maryland was set up during World War I to produce cheaper fabric for airplane manufacturing. The plant location was chosen inland to protect against Zeppelin attacks. It was also situated in proximity to a ready source of water at the Potomac River and easy access to coal supplies and railroad lines. After a series of delays, actual production began in 1924 with a series of cellulose acetate commercial fabrics and yarns intended as alternatives to silk. The plant was closed in 1983, and was later torn down to provide a space for a new state prison.
In 1927, the American Cellulose & Chemical Manufacturing Company changed its name to Celanese Corporation of America. In 1986, its pharmaceutical business was spun off as Celgene, and, in 1987, Celanese Corporation was acquired by Hoechst and merged with its American subsidiary, American Hoechst, to form Hoechst Celanese Corporation.
In 1998, Hoechst combined most of its industrial chemical operations in a new company, Celanese AG, and, in 1999, Hoechst spun off Celanese AG as a publicly traded, German corporation, traded on both the Frankfurt and New York stock exchanges.