The Swiss specialty chemicals firm Clariant says it will cut up to 600 jobs to save money after a drop in profit in 2019. The firm expects the slow economic situation this year to continue to affect demand.
“For 2020, given the current sluggish economic environment and continued adverse foreign exchange conditions, growth will be more limited and additional efficiency measures have been defined for each of the businesses to support the margin increase,” the Basel-based firm said in a statement on Thursdayexternal link.
The move towards more cost efficiency will translate into a workforce reduction of approximately 500 to 600 positions over the next two years which is expected to save approximately CHF50 million (a little over $51 million).
The Muttenz-based group currently employs around 17,200 people around the world. The announced job cuts correspond to 3-3.5% of the total workforce.
Around 40% of the announced job cuts will be in Europe, of which 20 posts in Switzerland, where 522 people are currently employed.
Last year, net profit fell to CHF38 million from CHF356 million in 2018, Clariant said. This was partly due to money being set aside in the second quarter linked to an ongoing competition law investigation by the European Commission into the ethylene purchasing market.
Sales fell slightly to CHF4.39 billion from CHF4.4 billion, the company said.
“The Group has significantly reshaped its portfolio through the divestment of Healthcare Packaging in 2019, the announced sale of Masterbatches and the planned divestment of Pigments in 2020,” it said, outlining ongoing structural changes.
Clariant replaced its chief financial officer on Tuesday and is still hunting for a new chief executive officer after the previous head left suddenly last year.