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Clariant cuts jobs and sheds units

Clariant's Swiss production facilities could be hit by job cuts. (Clariant) (Bild: www.clariant.com)

Swiss specialty chemicals firm Clariant has announced it is to cut up to 1,700 jobs and spin off non-core businesses in a bid to reduce its debt.

This content was published on February 25, 2003 - 11:04

The news comes just two weeks after Clariant posted a net loss of SFr648 million ($478 million) for 2002 - the second consecutive annual loss.

Clariant spokesman Patrick Kaiser said on Tuesday that the company would "reduce its workforce by between four and six per cent in the next two years". Clariant currently employs 28,000 people worldwide.

The company hopes to achieve most of the job cuts through natural wastage.

As part of a restructuring programme, the firm said it would also sell off non-core businesses, which account for around seven per cent of sales.

It will also scale back capacity in the pharmaceutical and custom synthesis units of its life science and electronic materials division, where growth has been disappointing.

Cost cutting

At the same time, regional service centres will be strengthened to reduce distribution, logistics and management costs by ten per cent.

Kaiser said the measures were intended to improve the financial position of Clariant, which had debts of around SFr3.5 billion at the end of 2002.

The company has been struggling under a debt load since it bought the British fine chemicals firm, BTP, for £1 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2000.

Clariant posted a loss of SFr1.2 billion in 2001, and a further loss of SFr648 in 2002, linked to write-offs following the acquisition.

After posting its 2002 results, Clariant said that despite difficult business conditions sales growth had been satisfactory.

It said it would proceed with plans to cut costs, increase efficiency and reduce current assets.

swissinfo with agencies

Clariant summary

Clariant plans to cut its 28,000-strong workforce by four to six per cent.
It hopes most of the positions will be lost through natural wastage.
Clariant also plans to shed non-core businesses in an effort to reduce its SFr3.5 billion debt burden.
The news comes two weeks after Clariant posted a loss of SFr648 for 2002.

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