Huntsman Cuts 9% of Workforce

Plant closing also planned

Chemicals manufacturer Huntsman Corp. said Jan. 22 that it will reduce its full-time employment by approximately 1,175 positions by year-end 2009, and will close its titanium dioxide plant in Europe.

The cuts account for more than 9% of the company's total workforce of 12,770. Full-time contractors working in the company's divisions and functions will be reduced by an additional 490 positions. Together, these reductions will result in operating cost savings to the company of approximately $150 million.

The plant closing in Grimsby, U.K., is part of the company's Pigments Division. It's the oldest and least-efficient manufacturing facility, the company says. It has an annual production capacity of 40,000 tons of titanium dioxide. Pigment production at the plant would cease during the first quarter of 2009. Approximately 200 full time employees and contractors work at the site.

Annual operating cost savings resulting from the plant's closure would be approximately $28 million.

The company also will reduce its 2009 capital expenditures by $190 million, said Peter R. Huntsman, president and CEO, in a statement.

"The steps announced today should take approximately $340 million out of our cost structure in 2009," Huntsman said. "These savings, combined with the $1 billion in payments we received during December from Apollo Management L.P. provide our company with a strong balance sheet and significant liquidity. Huntsman is well positioned to generate shareholder value and to prosper in these times of economic uncertainty."

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