24 October 2003 15:28 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--BASF announced Friday it planned to cut its styrenics activities in Ludwigshafen, Germany in a move to reduce costs by focusing production in high-efficiency world-scale plants
Three of six polystyrene (PS) lines at the plant are to be shut down from 1 July 2004, resulting in a capacity loss of slightly less than 100 000 tonne/year from the compounds market. It is understood that the plant has a capacity of 345 000 tonne/year.
In addition, the German chemicals giant will mothball a Styrolux styrene/butadiene/styrene (SBS) block copolymer plant at Ludwigshafen by year-end. This will reduce the firm’s European capacity of 85 000 tonne/year by 25%, said a spokeswoman. BASF said its other Styrolux plant in Antwerp, Belgium will continue to supply the European market.
BASF said the closures and mothballing were part of a strategy to concentrate styrenics production at other more efficient lines or plants, and the changes would be achieved by mid-2004. Actual savings were not revealed but the spokeswoman said they would be “significant”.
There are 187 jobs that will be affected by the cuts in styrenics production but there will not be job losses as employees are to be transferred to other BASF units, the spokeswoman said.
Wilfried Haensel, head of BASF’s European styrenics business, said in a statement: “These measures are being taken to strengthen our competitiveness in what is very much a commodity market. Moreover, with this capacity reduction, we are reacting on the oversupply and the unsatisfactory margins in the European PS business.”
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