04 September 2009 16:36 [Source: ICIS news]
By Stefan Baumgarten
The company idled the 220,000 tonne/year cracker in April amid soft demand. A second, larger 400,000 tonne/year cracker at the ?xml:namespace>
The idled cracker was currently being heated up, a process that could last several weeks, Hambrecht told Die Rheinpfalz, a regional paper in BASF's home state of Rhineland Palatine, in an interview. The company posted a transcript, in German language, on its website.
However, Hambrecht warned that the move did not signal any steep recovery in demand.
Rather, cracker shutdowns in the industry, including BASF’s, had led to shortages in certain products, in particular butadiene, he said.
A final decision on the cracker’s restart would depend on supply and demand in coming weeks, he said.
Globally, crackers were facing overcapacity, with an additional 7-8% of capacity being added this year alone to the 130m tonnes /year already in place, he added.
Hambrecht also confirmed that BASF ended short-time work at
However, the government-support programmes would continue to play a role in BASF’s workforce plans at other sites for some time, he said.
Worldwide, BASF was reducing jobs by about 2,000 this year, excluding the integration of the acquired Ciba specialty chemicals business which involved an additional 3,700 job cuts, Hambrecht said.
As for the near-term industry outlook, Hambrecht warned of continued uncertainty, despite sequential improvements in business in recent months.
Compared with last year, BASF’s sales were still down 20-25%.
“We are not yet done with the crisis. In the near-term,
“It is the fundamental task of all politicians to strengthen
One important growth sector for BASF and
He also defended BASF’s cooperation with Monsanto. The
However, Monsanto was acting responsibly and was the best partner for BASF in that sector, Hambrecht said.
“Green genetically modified technology” could become a major new division for his company in coming years, he said.
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