BASF Suspends Work at 80 Plants

Temporary shutdown affects 20,000 workers

The world's biggest chemical company, BASF, said on Nov. 19 it would cut its production worldwide and suspend operations at 80 plants, affecting 20,000 workers. "BASF is taking measures to avoid the creation of overcapacities as a result of a massive decline in demand," the company said

The group "is temporarily shutting down around 80 plants worldwide. In addition, BASF is reducing production at approximately 100 plants," following decisions that had already been revealed in part. The plants would advance maintenance work while they were not in operation, BASF said.

BASF also dropped its 2008 operating profit target.On October 30, the chemical giant had already lowered 2008 earnings targets and voiced concern about a possible recession next year, while announcing it would cut 1,000 jobs by 2012. "Since then, customer demand in key markets has declined significantly. In particular, customers in the automotive industry have canceled orders at short notice," the statement said.

"In 2008, BASF does not expect to achieve the previous year's excellent EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) before special items," it added. Chairman Juergen Hambrecht "explained that it was difficult to foresee how the coming year would develop and said that BASF was preparing for tough times."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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