Belgium’s Solvay to sell Spain chlorine plant to CUF, 40 jobs at risk

20 November 2017 10:57 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Solvay has confirmed it is to sell its chlorine plant in Torrelavega, Spain, to Portuguese producer CUF for an undisclosed sum, the Belgium chemical major said on Monday, adding that the 40 workers at the facility would not be transferred to the new owner.

CUF, through its subsidiary Altamira Electroquimica del Cantabrico, committed to invest around €55m to overhaul the plant in order to install a membrane cell-based technology, as per EU regulations, instead of the current mercury-based process.

A trade union representative at the plant had already said to ICIS on 10 November that Solvay was about to sign the agreement with CUF. The Portuguese producer conceded at the time that negotiations were taking place, while Solvay kept quiet.

The trade union representative also expressed worries about the 40 jobs the plant provides.

The facility will shut down on 11 December and, while the overhaul takes place, employment will not be guaranteed. The transfer is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2018.

The current mercury-based Torrelavega plant has a nameplate caustic soda capacity of 78,000 dmt/year (dry metric tonnes/year) and a chlorine capacity of 63,000 dmt/year, according to ICIS data.

Solvay said it was working in a “social plan” with workers representatives. The trade union could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

“The employees will not be transferred and Solvay will involve the local Works Council representatives in the implementation of a social plan,” said the Belgian chemical major.

“This agreement with CUF, the leading Portuguese chemical Company, will consolidate the employment level within the industrial complex of Solvay in Torrelavega.”

Pictured: The Torrelavega chemical complex
Source: Solvay

By Jonathan Lopez