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Clariant slashes hundreds of jobs in Switzerland

The Clariant specialty chemicals group announced a loss for 2009 on Tuesday and said it would cut 500 jobs, 400 of them in Switzerland.

Clariant, based at Muttenz near Basel, said it made a net loss of SFr194 million ($180.65 million) compared with a loss of SFr37 million in 2008.

Sales were down to SFr6.6 billion, a decline of 18 per cent in Swiss francs from the SFr8.1 billion achieved the previous year. Its job cuts are part of a second wave of cost-cutting measures.

The significant drop in sales reflected the severe economic crisis that affected all business across all regions, Clariant said in a statement.

The group, which makes products that end up in a variety of goods, from shampoos to tyres and flat screen televisions, said it did not see a sustainable recovery of the global economy due to structural problems.

It expected 2010 sales growth in local currencies in the low single-digit range.

Clariant is to transfer its textile dyes and textile chemicals production from Muttenz to locations in Asia. It plans to close a plant in India.

The group added that the board would recommend its annual meeting at the end of March to suspend dividends, grants or payouts to shareholders for 2009, “reflecting the current uncertainties in the economic environment”.

The number of job positions at Clariant was reduced to 17,536 from 20,102 at the end of 2008. and agencies

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