By David Reed, UT EditorMount Olive, New Jersey-BASF Corp. plans to cut about 600 jobs at its Geismar, Louisiana, and Freeport, Texas operations, as part of its previously announced restructuring programme. This programme was first announced in August last year and targets savings of at least $250 million annually by 2006, the firm said in a 6 May press notice. The present moves are expected to result in annual savings totalling $30-40 million, the statement added.The Geismar site has manufacturing plants for key urethane raw materials including 280 kilotonnes per annum of MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate), 160 ktpa of TDI (toluene diisocyanate, and a share of the 195 ktpa of the firm’s North American polyether polyols output, which are also made at its site in Wyandotte, Michigan. The latter site is not affected by the announced move, and no precise details of the impact on the PU-related activities were given in the statement.”To be a world-class competitor, we must continually strive to be a low-cost manufacturer,” said Klaus Peter Loebbe, Chairman and CEO of BASF Corp. in the statement. “Our business and industry are challenged by overcapacity, high energy costs, high raw material costs, and the movement of customers to other countries,” he explained, adding that “we are acting to address these issues and to improve our competitiveness. “We are making good progress on our overall restructuring programme and I am confident that we will exceed our minimum target of $250 million in annual savings,” his statement concluded.The initiatives to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the Geismar and Freeport sites follow a comprehensive review of the operations of both sites, BASF stated. As a result, each of the sites has been charged with identifying specific process, productivity and technology enhancements in order to achieve new operating efficiencies, the firm concluded.”
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