TimelineCrisis-hit global chemicals industry cuts over 77,000 jobs

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 Beringen, Belgium, with 109 jobs being lost, in order to safeguard the economic viability of the location.

14 October 2009
Clariant said 400 more jobs were to be eliminated by year-end at its operations in Europe - including 170 in Germany and 40 in Switzerland - as part of its strategy to regain competitiveness. The measures were part of the company’s previously announced plan to cut costs and jobs in order to catch up with its competitors, and Clariant expected to reduce its staff to under 18,000 worldwide by year-end, compared with around 20,000 at the end of 2008.

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 Dudingen, Switzerland and Troisdorf, Germany and the PVC production line at Sarnen in Switzerland will be closed during 2010, the company said in a statement.

29 September
International textile chemicals producer DyStar has filed for insolvency with a court in Germany, affecting 1,300 workers at at sites in Frankfurt, Leverkusen, Brunsbuttel, Gerestried and Ludwigshafen. The insolvency filing, which became necessary after alternatives to address the companies liquidity problems did not work out, took place with a court at DyStar's headquarters in Frankfurt.

15 September
Poland’s second-largest fertilizer maker, Zaklady Chemiczne Police (ZChP), has indefinitely cut its fertilizer production by around a third, citing lack of demand in the economic downturn. ZChP said around 80 jobs would be lost because of the scaled-down production at its nitrogen phosphorous potassium (NPK) and nitrogen phosphorous (NP) fertilizer lines.

8 September
US refining major Valero plans to shut the unprofitable coker and gasifier complex at its Delaware City refinery, affecting 250 jobs, in an effort to rationalise underperforming operations and improve profitability amid declining demand from the economic recession. Valero also said it expected to keep its heavy crude refinery in Aruba shut for an extended period and some 700 contract workers at Arbua would be released this month.

8 September
Serbia’s largest petrochemical producer, HIP Petrohemija, has confirmed around 500 redundancies as part of the restructuring plan that will allow the company to resume production on 15 September, said on Tuesday. Another 95 proposed redundancies from among its workforce of 2,300 were under review following employee objections, and two of six assistant directors have been cut.

4 September
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.

5 August
US-based chemicals major Celanese will lay off approximately 100 workers at its Ticona Manufacturing polyester plant near Shelby, North Carolina, after a significant decline in demand for products made there, especially from the automotive and electronic sectors. Celanese said most of the job cuts would occur around 30 September and that 11 additional layoffs would be made in February 2010.

4 August
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.

29 July
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.

27 July
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 Wilton, in the UK.

22 July
Air Products plans to cut about 1,150 jobs across the global workforce and close some plants to reduce costs.

6 July
BASF intends to sell or close 23 of 55 former Ciba Speciality Chemical production sites worldwide as it integrates its acquisition of the Basel, Switzerland-headquartered producer. BASF plans to cut 3,700 jobs as part of the process as it seeks to generate annual cost savings of €400m ($560m) a year from 2012.

8 July
Croda expects to close production at its site in Wilton, UK, in the first half of 2010, affecting 125 jobs.

25 June
Arkema plans to close its methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant in Carling, France, and reduce activity at its polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) sheet producing subsidiary Altuglas International. The moves would result in 163 job cuts at Carling and 76 at Altuglas’s site in Bernouville.

24 June
US seeds and herbicides group Monsanto said it would cut 900 jobs, or less than 4% of its regular global workforce, as part of a restructuring. The company’s fiscal third-quarter net profit fell 14% on an 11% drop in net sales.

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 Americas, would yield about Swfr110m in annual savings after completion in 2011.

22 June
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 Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere.

16 June
Russia's Novocherkassk Plant of Synthetic Products (NPSP) has halted its methanol production due to adverse market conditions and plans to lay off 1,700 of its 2,200 employees by mid-September.

15 June
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.

Poland’s PKN Orlen is not aiming for major job cuts this year but is working on a plan that would see a reduction in its workforce over a three to five-year period. Unions had feared that Orlen was cutting up to 20% - or between 600 and 800 jobs - from its workforce across the next year.

12 June
BASF will permanently shut down its Styropor expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant at Tarragona, Spain, in August, with the loss of 85 jobs, the German chemicals major said.

8 June
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.

4 June
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 Grangemouth, Scotland, affecting 95 employees at the site.

2 June
Nearly one-fifth of the 2,300-strong workforce of Serbia’s largest petrochemical company, HIP Petrohemija, will be laid off under a restructuring programme, according to Serbia's privatisation agency.

29 May
Cytec Industries will cut 160 jobs at its Drogenbos site in Belgium and transfer powder resin production to its facility at Bassano, Italy, in order to save $13.5m-15.5m/year.

28 May
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.

27 May
US specialty resins and pine-based chemicals producer Arizona Chemical will permanently close its chemical plant in Port St Joe, Florida, in July, affecting about 77 jobs, the company said.

21 May
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.

20 May
Sweden-based Perstorp will mothball its pentaerythritol plant in El Salto, Chile, due deteriorated market conditions. Most of the 80 employees at the plant would be made redundant. Meanwhile, the company said it would cut 21 jobs at its headquarters in Perstorp, Sweden, as part of “measures to lower its ambitions and increase efficiency of the administrative functions”.

Huntsman will cut 104 jobs at its textile chemicals production site in Langweid, near Augsburg in Germany, through end 2010. The cuts affect about one third of the company’s workforce at the site.

15 May
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.

14 May
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 Ludwigshafen, Germany, mainly on pigments, intermediates, petrochemicals and inorganics units.

13 May
French specialty chemicals producer Arkema plans to cut 200 jobs in the US and Canada as part of a restructuring of regional operations. The job cuts would affect six different sites in the US, as well as regional head offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Oakville, Ontario.

7 May
DuPont will cut 2,000 more jobs to reduce costs amid weaker global market conditions. DuPont said the move would help preserve its strong cash position amid sharp declines in demand, particularly from the automotive, construction and industrial markets.

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.

1 May
US butadiene (BD) maker Texas Petrochemicals (TPC) will reduce its headcount by 13% as part of a plan to cut costs and enhance profitability. As of 13 February, the company had about 500 full-time employees and 200 contract workers.

30 April
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.

28 April
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.

22 April
Invista plans to mothball three nylon intermediate plants in Maitland in Ontario, Canada, resulting in the loss of 240 jobs by late-2009.

15 April
Tikkurila, the paints and coatings subsidiary of Finland's Kemira, will reduce personnel at its site in Vantaa by 163, with 13 employees being made redundant, as part of a plan to reduce its workforce by about 13% to generate €25m in annual savings.

German chemicals major BASF is preparing short-time working for up to 3,000 employees at its Ludwigshafen production hub in response to weak demand. The short-time working would take effect on 1 June.

14 April
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.

30 March
Polish fertilizer producer Zaklady Chemiczne Police (ZChP) launched a voluntary redundancy programme for its 3,200 employees.

25 March
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.

20 March
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.

18 March
German specialty chemicals company LANXESS plans to save €250m over the next two years by cutting employee wages and reducing production at unprofitable plants.

17 March
Fertilizer major Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp) said it would temporarily halt production and issue short-term redundancy notices to 940 workers at three Canadian mines in April.

16 March
Flint Hills Resources (FHR) said it would lay off another 46 workers from its Odessa complex in Texas on 1 April, adding to nearly 200 terminations that were already expected to take place in the first quarter.

13 March
US refiner and petrochemicals producer Sunoco plans to cut 750 jobs this year, equivalent to about 20% of its workforce, as it tries to cope in the difficult economic environment.

12 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 Saultain, France, during the first quarter, along with several smaller production, laboratory, warehouse and distribution facilities. It added that more plant closures later in the year were a possibility.

US pigment maker Tronox will lay off 116 workers at its titanium dioxide (TiO2) plant in Savannah, Georgia, on 20 March and reduce production by 85% of nameplate capacity.

US producer Hexion Specialty Chemicals plans to cut about 15% of its workforce this year on expectations that the global recession will last through 2009 and potentially beyond. Hexion currently employs 7,000 workers, according to its website.

10 March
Total plans cut over 300 jobs in the petrochemicals sector in France by 2012, it said, only weeks after announcing record group profits of nearly €14bn. The job cuts included 130 at its Gonfreville refinery in northwest France.

5 March
US plastics processor Spartech cut 260 jobs in February and March along with closing a portion of a French plant. The company posted a loss due to significant demand decline in the automobile, construction and recreation and leisure markets.

2 March
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).

US plastics compounder A Schulman will cut 104 employee positions while reducing capacity by 5% as recovery in demand has not materialised.

26 February
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.

24 February
US silicones producer Dow Corning plans to cut 800 jobs globally, or about 8% of its overall workforce, as it responds to the tough economic environment. The bulk of the cuts would occur in the first half of 2009, affecting all of Dow Corning’s more than 40 locations globally.

20 February
Weak sales of titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment have prompted Cristal Global to indefinitely idle two of its Millennium Inorganic Chemicals plants one in the US at the end of March and another in the UK about two weeks later. About 70 of the estimated 140 employees at the US site will be laid off as the plant is taken offline.

18 February
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.

17 February
US chemicals producer Georgia Gulf will lay off another 5% of its workforce in the first quarter as part of a plan to reduce operating costs by $47m, company president and CEO Paul Carrico said.

Swiss specialty chemicals producer Clariant announced Swiss franc (Swfr) 207m net loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter as it suffered from deteriorating demand in the leather and textile markets, while reaffirming its plans to cut 1,000 jobs.

12 February
Dow Chemical has laid off 350 full-time workers at its Freeport plant in Texas. The redundancies were expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The US’s top intelligence officer says that the global economic crisis poses a more serious security risk to the US than Islamic terrorists, warning of widespread destabilisation in developing countries.

11 February
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.

5 February
Brazilian polyolefins producer Quattor will lay off 80 workers at its units in the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia.

4 February
Hungary's BorsodChem will lay off around 550 employees due to waning orders amid the global economic crisis.

28 January
US chemicals, coatings and glass producer PPG Industries is considering more job cuts and restructuring after it was reported the company may cut up to 4,500 jobs.

Romanian oil and chemicals group Petrom will cut 3,000 jobs, or around 10% of its workforce, starting in February.

27 January
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.

Ashland said it had taken several cost-cutting measures to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn, including cutting its workforce by 1,300, or 9%, by the end of the 2010 fiscal year.

23 January
Poland's Zaklady Azoty Tarnow (ZAT) is calling for voluntary redundancies as it aims to cut 250 employees from its workforce of 2,300 to counter falling demand.

22 January
US new home construction continued its freefall in December, with housing starts fully 45% below the December 2007 rate of home building – the worst performance for the home construction industry on record.

US chemicals producer Huntsman will cut about 1,175 jobs, or 9% of its overall workforce, and close its titanium dioxide (TiO2) plant in the UK as apart of a $150m cost-savings and restructuring programme.

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.

20 January
US specialty chemicals producer Rohm and Haas announces new savings and restructuring measures, affecting some 900 jobs, as it responds to deteriorating market conditions.

19 January
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.

16 January
Since 1 October, US water-chemicals producer Nalco has cut more than 400 jobs to save $40m/year.

15 January
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.

12 January
US pigment producer Tronox files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its US operations.

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.

8 January
US chemicals producer Cytec Industries announces 600 job cuts and plant closures. It also reduced its 2008 earnings guidance as it responds to the downturn in global markets.

6 January
The US operations of LyondellBasell file for bankruptcy protection. The filing by affiliate Lyondell Chemical listed debts of $19bn and assets of $27bn, according to court documents.

19 December
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 Saskatchewan's (PotashCorp) mines. The temporary announcements will affect 400 hourly workers at its Rocanville plant, 300 at its Lanigan unit and 240 its Allan facility.

18 December
LyondellBasell subsidiary Equistar will temporarily shut down its Chocolate Bayou olefins plant in Texas, the eighth US cracker to go off line since monomer demand began to sink in October. The shutdown at the 544,000 tonne/year unit in Chocolate Bayou is the second announced by Equistar in the last 45 days.

17 December
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.

16 December
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 US central bank’s 95-year history. The central bank also said it expects to keep its interest rates at these “exceptionally low levels ... for some time”.

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.

15 December
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

12 December
US specialty chemicals producer Chemtura plans to eliminate 20% of its professional and administrative staff  500 positions. The cuts are part of a restructuring initiative that should reduce fixed costs by $50m.

11 December
Dow Europe plans to close down styrene, polystyrene and ethylbenzene production at three of its 26 plants in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, along with its styrene and styrene derivative plants in Freeport, Texas; Pittsburg, California; and Varennes, Quebec, in Canada.

Invista is cutting 210 jobs and halting nylon production at its Waynesboro plant in North Carolina due to deteriorating market conditions.

The National Bureau of Economic Research declares that the US recession started in December 2007.

10 December
SABIC Innovative Plastics plans to eliminate about 1,050 jobs from its global workforce through 2009 as part of a larger restructuring plan.

Russia’s Novokuibyshevsk Petrochemical Co (NKNKhK) halts output at its isoprene unit and axed 1,000 jobs due to falling demand.

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.

9 December
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

8 December
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.

4 December
DuPont will slash 2,500 jobs as part of a restructuring to compensate for a loss of automobile and housing market business.

3 December
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.

27 November
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 France resulting in the loss of 169 jobs.

26 November
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.

25 November
Czech PVC and caprolactam maker Spolana will reduce production by up to 50% from December and may have to cut wages and make lay-offs due to poor demand.

21 November
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.

19 November
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.

17 November
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.

14 November
LyondellBasell said it may cut 15% of its staff following a third-quarter net loss of $136m.

12 November
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.

7 November
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.

17 October
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.

8 October
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.

7 October
Romanian oil refiner and chemicals producer Rompetrol plans to further streamline its business, cutting 2,000 out of its 9,000 total jobs.

3 October
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.

29 September
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.

15 September
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

By: Mark Watts
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