US Ashland to cut 500 jobs; chem unit to be affected

01 October 2003 16:37  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (CNI)--Ashland said Wednesday it will eliminate 500 jobs or about 5% of its salaried workforce to save $75m (Euro64.1m) but declined to say how its specialty chemical unit would be affected.

Chemicals generate about 17% of the Covington, Kentucky-based company's revenues.

Spokesman Jim Vitak told CNI the salaried job cuts will be across all Ashland business units.

He added: "We don't have a specific breakdown on where the reductions will be."

Ashland said 80% of the job cuts would be completed before 30 November.

The company expects to record a $18m fourth quarter charge for severance and other costs.

Ashland chairman and chief executive James O'Brien said in a statement that reducing expenses is a pivotal part of Ashland's strategy.

He added: "Becoming a low-cost, operationally excellent organisation is critical to serving our customers, enhancing our financial strength and restoring our ability to grow."

O'Brien noted that Ashland had eliminated about 200 salaried jobs earlier in its 2003 fiscal year and recorded $8m in severance and related costs.

O'Brien added that Ashland is examining additional cost reductions but could not estimate potential savings.

By: Mike Sheridan
+1 713 525 2653

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