BASF to Close German Plastics Plant

No job cuts expected

Due to slumping demand, BASF said on June 25 it would shut down a plastics plant. Closing a polystyrene plant in Ludwigshafen, southern Germany, would reduce BASF's production capacity by about 15% but should not lead to job cuts, the company said.

"The main reason for the shutdown is the decrease in demand for polystyrene. The affected plant, which has been out of operation since mid-April, will be dismantled," it added.

Workers at the site would be transferred to other positions and a Belgian plant would continue to produce the plastic, which is used by the packaging industry as well as for refrigerator linings and housings for household and office products.

"We are working intensively to restructure our styrene business and increase its profitability," the statement quoted unit head Joachim Streu as saying. "In doing so, we are investigating all options in order to strengthen the business on a sustainable basis," although BASF still intended to abandon the activity in due course, he added.

The global economic crisis has disrupted BASF's plans to sell the unit.

In late April, the world's top chemicals group posted a 68% drop in first quarter net profit amid "persistently weak demand." BASF said then that it would eliminate at least 2,000 jobs by the end of the year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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