06 November 2009 15:32 [Source: ICIS news]
(Updates with news on Borealis and Shell)
LONDON (ICIS news)--Chemical companies have cut over 82,000 jobs worldwide since the global financial crisis tore through the markets in September last year, according to company announcements reported on ICIS news.
In addition to the huge number of redundancies announced in Europe and North America over the last 11 months, thousands more workers have been forced into short-time working as production was cut in response to plummeting demand for chemicals.
Here are some of the major announcements and news events charting the global economic downturn and its disastrous effects on the chemicals industry.
View Chemicals industry job cuts in a larger map
29 October 2009
Some 5,000 employees are leaving oil giant Shell as a result of its cost-cutting measures for this year, company chief executive Peter Voser said after the company announced its third-quarter profits had plunged.
Voser said the company cut operating costs by about $1bn (€680m) in the first nine months of the year as part of its “Transition 2009” programme.
27 October 2009
In its third quarter financial results Borealis' declared the closure of an HDPE production unit in ?xml:namespace>
14 October 2009
Clariant said 400 more jobs were to be eliminated by year-end at its operations in Europe - including 170 in
13 October 2009
Finnish advanced fuels company Neste Oil said it will cut 351 jobs at the company and has plans to temporarily lay off more staff at its engineering arm Neste Jacobs, because of changes in the market, its lower level of profitability, and the requirements of its new operating model. The company added in a statement that 240 of the 351 employees would be taking voluntary retirement.
30 September 2009
Swiss sealants and adhesives producer Sika is cutting 50 jobs and restructuring plants as it works to remain competitive. Production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membranes will be consolidated in
International textile chemicals producer DyStar has filed for insolvency with a court in
US refining major Valero plans to shut the unprofitable coker and gasifier complex at its
Canadian energy firm Suncor expects to cut about 1,000 jobs, through layoffs, retirements and the discontinuation of contract positions, in the wake of its $15bn (€10.5bn) merger with rival Petro-Canada.
US-based chemicals major Celanese will lay off approximately 100 workers at its Ticona Manufacturing polyester plant near
Trevira expects to cut about 300 jobs, or 17% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring to sell the insolvent Germany-based textile fibre and polyester producer to investors.
Polish fertilizer producer Zaklady Chemiczne Police (ZChP) is to lay off 460 of its 3,200 employees as it strives to secure crisis loans from a bank, the company said.
La Seda de Barcelona is to lay off 300 staff, close five plants and raise funds as part of a restructuring plan that will allow it to focus on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production. Around 240 would lose their jobs as a result of the closure of the 500,000 tonne/year upstream PTA site at
Air Products plans to cut about 1,150 jobs across the global workforce and close some plants to reduce costs.
BASF intends to sell or close 23 of 55 former Ciba Speciality Chemical production sites worldwide as it integrates its acquisition of the
Croda expects to close production at its site in
Arkema plans to close its methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant in
Swiss diversified chemical engineering group Sulzer plans to cut 1,400 jobs, or 11% of its global workforce, as it sees no improvement in market conditions. The cuts, mainly in Europe and the
Romanian state-owned chemical company Oltchim is to temporarily cut around 1,000 jobs at its Ramnicu Valcea site starting on 22 June in order to reduce costs, according to a company official.
Clariant will cut a further 500 jobs in the second phase of its 2009 restructuring programme. The job cuts would be made at a number of locations in
Russian petrochemical producer Sibur is reducing its workforce and plans to close “sub-standard” plants to help cut costs during the downturn, the company’s CEO said.
BASF will permanently shut down its Styropor expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant at
Polish fertilizer producer Zaklady Chemiczne Police (ZChP) said that over the next year it would attempt to reduce its workforce of 3,200 employees by around 10% through voluntary redundancies, the non-replacement of retiring workers and other measures.
Johnson Matthey said it had cut 13% of the workforce in its Emission Control Technologies division to reduce costs due to the deteriorated automotive market. It said cost cutting actions in the division would save it £10m a year.
SABIC said it plans to close its acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plant in
Nearly one-fifth of the 2,300-strong workforce of
Norwegian fertilizer major Yara will permanently close its nitrogen phosphorous potassium (NPK) fertilizer plant at Peremarton, Hungary, due to low profitability from its operations. The plant closure will lead to the loss of 110 positions at the plant.
Czech petrochemicals producer Unipetrol plans to lay off 320 of its 4,325 staff this year as part of its crisis plan. The cut is equivalent to 8% of the workforce.
Sweden-based Perstorp will mothball its pentaerythritol plant in
Huntsman will cut 104 jobs at its textile chemicals production site in Langweid, near
German global textile-dyes producer Dystar is cutting 545 jobs worldwide as part of a restructuring programme amid declining sales, according to German newspaper Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger.
A further 1,000 BASF employees will be put on short-time working over the next four months, the company announced. The reduced hours would be introduced at 20 plants at its main production site in
Britain's Zotefoams will reduce its workforce by 20% as it attempts to cut costs during the economic downturn. The company said sales volumes were lower than expected in the first four months of 2009, forcing management to take cost-cutting measures.
The world’s largest chemicals maker, BASF, is looking to cut its workforce by at least 2,000 by the end of 2009, citing “enormous challenges”. The company said it could consider more plant closures to cope with the difficult business environment.
Dutch specialty chemicals producer DSM will cut 250 jobs on top of the previously announced 1,000 positions to be eliminated and said it is prepared to take further cost-cutting measures if demand does not improve in the coming months.
Invista plans to mothball three nylon intermediate plants in Maitland in
Tikkurila, the paints and coatings subsidiary of Finland's Kemira, will reduce personnel at its site in
German chemicals major BASF is preparing short-time working for up to 3,000 employees at its
Troubled polymers producer LyondellBasell plans to close 14 plants and cut 4,800 jobs by the end of 2010 as part of a $700m cost-cutting scheme.
German specialty chemicals company Cognis is planning a number of cost cutting measures in 2009, including 200 job cuts and short-time working, targeting savings of €70m to counteract weak demand from end-user markets.
French specialty chemicals firm Rhodia plans to implement a number of measures in an effort to achieve savings of €150m ($206m) by 2011, which will lead to the loss of 91 jobs.
German specialty chemicals company LANXESS plans to save €250m over the next two years by cutting employee wages and reducing production at unprofitable plants.
Fertilizer major Potash Corporation of
12 March 10 March
US-based chemicals, coatings and glass producer PPG Industries will cut 2,500 jobs globally in 2009 as part of a restructuring plan aimed at saving $140m per year due to weak end-market demand. In addition, PPG will close a plant in
Total plans cut over 300 jobs in the petrochemicals sector in
2 March 26 February 24 February 20 February 18 February 17 February
NOVA Chemicals will reconsider plans to lay off 400 workers, or 15% of its workforce, after receiving a friendly buyout bid from Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Co (IPIC).
BASF CEO Jurgen Hambrecht said the company will shrink in 2009 as it faces up to a year of “unprecedented challenges”. The German chemical giant reported heavy fourth-quarter losses and announced at least 1,500 worldwide job cuts.
Weak sales of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment have prompted Cristal Global to indefinitely idle two of its Millennium Inorganic Chemicals plants – one in the
Rockwood Holdings plans to ultimately trim 893 jobs, or 9% of its workforce, as it continues its cost-cutting measures. The measures include a global freeze on all salaries for 2009, salary reductions in some business segments, fewer capital expenditures, while some travel budget restrictions and other steps begun last year, CEO Seifi Ghasemi said.
Dow Chemical has laid off 350 full-time workers at its
Chemicals major BASF is considering more job cuts and asset sales as it responds to the continuing global economic downturn, according German newspaper Die Zeit, citing an interview with group CEO Jurgen Hambrecht.
Brazilian polyolefins producer Quattor will lay off 80 workers at its units in the states of
Hungary's BorsodChem will lay off around 550 employees due to waning orders amid the global economic crisis.
Romanian oil and chemicals group Petrom will cut 3,000 jobs, or around 10% of its workforce, starting in February.
US chemicals major DuPont reports a $629m (€478m) loss for the fourth quarter, which was even lower than expected in its profit warning in early December.
Clariant plans to cut 1,000 jobs to reduce costs during the downturn as the Swiss specialty chemicals company reported a 5% drop in sales for the full year 2008.
INEOS reported significantly higher-than-expected inventory-holding losses for the fourth quarter 2008 of €1,005m reflecting, it said, the significant decline in oil prices over the quarter.
BASF issues a profits warning, saying that the decline in business was greater than expected in November and would negatively affect earnings. The world’s largest chemicals group said it would introduce short-time working for 1,680 employees at German facilities manufacturing products for the automotive industry.
Since 1 October,
Celanese will reduce its workforce throughout many of its businesses due to the economic challenges currently affecting the entire chemical industry.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compound producer PolyOne will cut about 370 jobs and close at least one plant in a cost-savings move amid a prolonged demand slump.
US pigment producer Tronox files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its
Mosaic issued lay-off notices to more than 1,100 workers at two of its Canadian potassium chloride plants. The lay-offs signal that Mosaic is following up on its plans to substantially scale back production as global demand wanes.
US passes $17.4bn bailout for its domestic automobile industry.
Eight-week lay-off notices were sent to 940 workers at three of Potash Corporation of
LyondellBasell subsidiary Equistar will temporarily shut down its Chocolate Bayou olefins plant in
LANXESS will cut production at over half of its German chemical plants during the Christmas period and into January 2009, directly affecting 1,400 employees.
The Federal Reserve Board took unprecedented action to lower its key federal funds interest rate to a range between zero and 0.25%, cutting the rate by at least 75 basis points. It marks the lowest federal funds rate in the
Air Products has revised its earnings outlook for its fiscal 2009 first quarter in response to the global economic crisis and will cut 7% of its global workforce.
Dutch chemicals producer DSM will eliminate 1,000 jobs to generate annual savings of up to €100m as it struggles to cope with tough business environment amid the global economic downturn
Dow Europe plans to close down styrene, polystyrene and ethylbenzene production at three of its 26 plants in Terneuzen, the
Invista is cutting 210 jobs and halting nylon production at its
The National Bureau of Economic Research declares that the
SABIC Innovative Plastics plans to eliminate about 1,050 jobs from its global workforce through 2009 as part of a larger restructuring plan.
INEOS successfully negotiates its debt covenant waiver discussions with its major banks.
US plastics compounder A Schulman is cutting jobs, idling production lines and lowering its guidance due to the US and European downturns. In all, Schulman will reduce employment at two plants to 60 people, down from 172.
German potash supplier Kali and Salz (K+S) will continue to restrict production in the first half of 2009 and will introduce shorter working hours on the back of ongoing weak demand, affecting 1,800 employees.
AkzoNobel is closing parts of its decorative-paints production in Germany, which will eliminate 350 jobs. The company would close a production site in Rheinberg and a distribution centre in Wunstorf, as well as parts of its production at Cologne.
US industrial gas producer Praxair is cutting 1,600 jobs and closing product lines and businesses as it expects a substantial slowdown in fourth-quarter demand. Already, Praxair has seen demand fall in November. In December, it expects more customers to close plants
Dow Chemical announces massive job cuts, which includes eliminating, 5,000 full-time jobs, closing 20 plants and selling businesses in the face of the economic downturn.
Plants would be closed in high-cost locations, the largest US chemicals producer said as it sought to save $700m in operational costs by 2010. The job cuts represented a reduction of approximately 11% of Dow's global workforce.
In addition, the company would temporarily idle 180 plants and reduce its contractors worldwide by approximately 6,000 as predicated by reduced operations.
DuPont will slash 2,500 jobs as part of a restructuring to compensate for a loss of automobile and housing market business.
Clariant will freeze wages, cut back production and implement short working hours at selected production sites worldwide due to low demand, the Swiss specialty chemicals producer said.
European cracker operating rates reach historic lows as the worsening December demand outlook pushed technical boundaries to levels never seen before or even considered possible, producers said.
Arkema plans to close two loss-making vinyl products plants in
New orders for manufactured durable goods in the US slumped 6.2% in October, the biggest monthly drop in two years, while inventories hit a record high.
French specialty chemicals producer Arkema plans to close down 12 of its petrochemical sites worldwide in December due to a downturn in downstream markets.
Solutia is cutting production and jobs in its nylon operations in response to declining demand. The measures would affect 1,600 of the 3,900 employees and contractors in the nylon business. About 900 of the job cuts were expected to be only temporary.
BASF issues a reduced full-year profits outlook, saying it had been hit by a “massive decline" in demand and had been forced to temporarily shut down 80 plants worldwide. The Germany-based chemicals giant says it will reduce production at about 100 plants worldwide in an attempt to avoid the creation of overcapacities, while scheduled maintenance was being brought forward.
INEOS announces it has sought covenant waivers from its banks until the end of the first quarter of 2009 following a collapse in petrochemical market demand and an expected €560m inventory loss in the fourth quarter. INEOS saw EBITDA fall 20% from the year-earlier period to €402m in the third quarter.
LyondellBasell said it may cut 15% of its staff following a third-quarter net loss of $136m.
Romanian plastics and pesticide manufacturer Oltchim is to cut 550 jobs – about 10% of its workforce – by the end of this month to reduce costs.
The US October unemployment rate reached 6.5%, its highest level in 14 years, as the economy showed increasing signs of falling into a deep recession.
Germany’s parliament passes a €500bn bailout package to help banks and to provide loan guarantees amid increasing worries by industry, including chemicals producers, about the fallout from the financial and credit crisis.
The Bank of England and European Central Bank (ECB) make emergency interest rate cuts of half a percentage point in an attempt to curb the escalating global financial crisis. Central banks in the US, China, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland also cut rates as markets in Asia and Europe continued to plummet amid fears of a global recession.
Rhodia plans to close its polyamide facility in Ceriano, Italy, by mid-2009, which could affect 219 people.
Romanian oil refiner and chemicals producer Rompetrol plans to further streamline its business, cutting 2,000 out of its 9,000 total jobs.
The US House of Representatives gave final congressional approval to a $700bn financial rescue plan, meant to revive the nation's credit markets. The bill is later signed by President George Bush.
AkzoNobel plans cut 3,500 jobs by 2011 and defer its share buyback programme in light of the volatility in the global financial markets and a €1.8bn debt repayment.
One of the world’s biggest investment banks, Lehman Brothers, files for bankruptcy in one of the worst banking collapses in history. Meanwhile, Bank of America agrees to buy Merrill Lynch in a $50bn deal, saving it from a similar fate and creating the world’s largest financial services company.
Al Greenwood and Hilde Ovrebekk contributed to this article
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|
Asian Chemical Connections