Huntsman sees Euro50m/yr saving on TiO2 capacity, job cuts

06 April 2004 16:43  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (CNI)--Huntsman Tioxide expects to achieve annual savings of $50m (Euro41m) from its cutbacks in production capacity and jobs, president Tom Keenan told CNI on Tuesday.


The reduction of titanium dioxide (TiO2) capacity at Grimsby, UK and Umbogintwini, South Africa as well as organisation changes at Billingham, Teesside, UK (mainly technical service and support functions) were announced earlier today.


Some 300 jobs will be lost as a result of these efforts to boost Huntsman Tioxide's competitiveness. The company employs some 850 people at Grimsby, Billingham and Umbogintwini.


Keenan said negotiations with the trade unions have already started and the options for affected employees include internal transfers and voluntary redundancies.


He did not reveal the cost of implementing the restructuring project.


A source at consultants Harriman Chemsult attributed Huntsman's proposed capacity cuts to the “high cost” of Grimsby capacity and the prevailing market conditions. 


He told CNI the TiO2 market is currently suffering from overcapacity, with supply slightly higher than the estimated demand of 4.5m tonne/year.


The source said TiO2 prices are currently somewhat low but are picking up in Asia and North America.


However, the European market is lagging behind. This is because TiO2 demand is closely correlated with gross domestic product (GDP) and there is still economic uncertainty in Europe, he said.

By: Russell Ong
+44 208 652 3214

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