UpdateHuntsman mulls more job cuts at Swiss operations

29 September 2011 23:52  [Source: ICIS news]

(re-leads with comments from Huntsman, updates throughout)

LONDON (ICIS)--Huntsman is in early talks with employees and unions about possible job cuts to its advanced materials operations in Switzerland, cuts that would be on top of the possible 500 it announced for its textile effects business in that country, a company spokesman said on Thursday.

However, the Huntsman spokesman would not confirm claims by two Swiss unions that 110 jobs may be cut at Huntsman’s Swiss advanced materials facilities in Basel and Monthey.

“We have begun a consultation process [about possible job cuts] with employees and unions, but, from our point of view, it’s a bit early to put such a number on it,” the spokesman told ICIS. He characterised the discussions as ways to improve the competitiveness of the advanced materials operations in Switzerland.

“No decisions have been taken yet,” he added.

Any cuts would come on top of the possible 500 job cuts Huntsman announced this week at its Swiss-based textile chemicals operations, which have come under competitive market pressure and have been hit by the strong Swiss franc.

The Huntsman spokesman, who requested not to be named, said the Swiss franc is an “aggravating cause” for the company.

However, as a global chemicals producer, Huntsman does not make business decisions about job cuts only on the basis of currency fluctuations, he said, adding: “I think that would be pretty bad strategy”.

“Yes, the Swiss franc doesn’t help, but we are not alone in that position, it applies to any multinational based in Switzerland,” he said.

The spokesman also said the cited 500 job cuts in textile chemicals “are not a done deal by any means, because we are really in a consultation process on that side of the business as well”.

Overall, Huntsman employs about 650 workers at its advanced materials business in Basel and Monthey. In Monthey, the company has one of its largest advanced materials manufacturing sites. Globally, Huntsman’s has 2,300 employees in advanced materials.

In textile chemicals - known as Huntsman textile effects - the company employs about 700 people in Basel. Globally, Huntsman employs 3,400 people in that business, as well as several hundred contractors, the spokesman said.

For more on Huntsman and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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