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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: February 3, 2009

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North America

Job Cuts

Dow Chemical Co. will cut between 400 to 500 jobs near its Midland, Michigan headquarters as part of a previously announced global layoff plan. The previously announced plan includes a cut of 5,000 full-time jobs, about 11 percent of the company’s total workforce. In addition, the plan calls for the closure of 20 plants and sell off of several businesses to rein in costs amid the economic recession.

Deal Not Closing

Dow Chemical will not close on its $15.4 billion buyout of Rohm & Haas Co. by the deadline. This announcement was almost immediately followed by a lawsuit from the specialty chemicals maker to force closure without delay. Despite approval from the Federal Trade Commission, Dow cited the global financial crisis and pullout decision by a Kuwaiti state-owned petrochemical to a $17.4 billion joint venture as reasons for not moving forward with this deal.

Plant Closure and Layoffs

Cabot is shutting down its Cabot Supermetals metal powder plant in Colebrookdale Township, Pennsylvania. And, the company will lay off about 32 workers. The company’s chemical-making facility and mill at the same location will remain open.


Chemical Ban

In two months, the European Union will ban a chemical used in Chinese leather shoes and sofas that can cause severe allergic reactions. Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) prevents mold growing on leather goods produced in humid climates. However, customers in France, Britain, Finland and Sweden have complained that it causes skin rashes and breathing problems. The chemical is already outlawed on goods produced within Europe and will now extend to imports, with China being the most affected.

Job Cuts

Clariant AG is cutting 1,000 jobs this year. The job cuts are a result of a sharp decline in customer demand for its products in the textile, leather, automotive and construction industries.

Job Cuts

Huntsman will cut 1,175 jobs, close a plant in the United Kingdom and slash capital spending to reduce costs as demand for its products falls amid the recession. The company also plans to cut 490 full-time contractor positions. The job cuts will involve attrition and layoffs. The plant closure will impact the company’s Grimsby, United Kingdom, titanium dioxide plant. Production will stop in the first quarter, causing 200 full-time employees to lose their jobs.


Catalyst Systems

Lummus Novolen Technology is launching research and development activities at a new facility at the BASF SE site in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The goal of working in close proximity is to provide both companies with strategic and synergistic business opportunities. The companies are finalizing a cooperative agreement to jointly develop catalyst systems.


Potential Plant Closures

Celanese Corp. is assessing the potential closure of acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) production in Pardies, France, as well as assessing the potential closure of VAM production in Cangrejera, Mexico. These assessments are necessitated by the significant changes in the global economic environment and anticipated lower customer demand.


Saltigo GmbH increased capacity for an active ingredient precursor for a major pharmaceutical manufacturer without needing to halt or interrupt the production process at its plant in any way. The project involved raising the output of a plant from 30 metric tons/year to an urgently required 50 tons/year under ongoing production.

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