Dow cutting production, workers at Texas plant

04 December 2008 18:07  [Source: ICIS news]

Dow Chemical complex in Freeport, TexasHOUSTON (ICIS news)--US major Dow Chemical has cut production at its massive Freeport complex in Texas to less than 40% of capacity and will lay off all 4,000 contract workers from 15 December through 5 January, the company said on Thursday.

Dow spokeswoman Traci Copeland said officials were not specifying when the 4,000 contract workers will be rehired.

"It'll be a case-by-case examination of what to bring back up and which workers will come back," Copeland said.

She could not specify when production at the plant was reduced.

In addition to the contractors, Dow employs 4,500 full-time workers at the Freeport complex, which has 75 production units and is the largest petrochemical plant in North America. None of the full-time staff will be laid off, officials said.

Dow Vice President Gary Hockstra said at a press conference on Wednesday that the cutbacks were due to a drop in global chemical demand and were designed to conserve cash and protect Dow's earnings.

Another chemical producer, DuPont, said on Thursday that it expected to post a fourth-quarter loss and cut 2,500 jobs, or 4.2% of its workforce.

Chemical companies have suffered a huge drop in demand this year due to the global recession. Dow faces added pressure from its $18.8 bn (€14.9bn) acquisition of specialty chemical maker Rohm and Haas, which shareholders approved in November.

($1 = €0.79)

For more on Dow Chemical's Freeport complex in Texas, visit ICIS plants and projects
For more on Dow, DuPont or Rohm and Haas, visit ICIS company intelligence

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By: Lane Kelley
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