Clariant cuts more jobs as recession bites

Clariant, the Swiss producer of specialist chemicals, is to cut 500 jobs as it reported an 18% fall in sales to CHF6.6bn (

Clariant, the Swiss producer of specialist chemicals, is to cut 500 jobs as it reported an 18% fall in sales to CHF6.6bn (£3.9bn; US$6.1bn) in 2009.

The Basel-based company, which supplies intermediates, raw materials for medicines, specialist ingredients and masterbatches to the pharmaceutical industry, attributed the drop to the economic downturn, which led to falling demand, significant capacity under-utilisation and a depressed gross margin in the first quarter.

Clariant took measures during the year to address production over-capacity by instigating temporary shutdowns and short-time working and through strong price management was able to maintain sales prices at 2008 levels. EBITDA before exceptional items fell by 37% to CHF495m.

The company reported an annual loss of CHF194m for 2009 and said it would continue with restructuring plans and lay off a further 500 people as it transfers textile dyes and chemicals production from Muttenz in Switzerland to Asia, and paper chemicals to Spain. Of the job losses, around 400 will be from Muttenz. There will also be a partial plant closure in Resende, Brazil and the Balkum site in India will be closed.

Clariant cut more than 3,000 jobs last year and the additional cuts will be completed between 2011 and 2013.

The company said it did not foresee a significant recovery in the global economy in 2010, and while China and Latin America are expected to continue to show improvement, this will not make up for flat or negative growth in Europe and the US.

Chief executive Hariolf Kottmann said: "The aim remains to achieve sustainable above industry-average profitability by the end of 2010 and to create a solid platform for profitable growth in the years thereafter."




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