Resin supply: Eastman to freeze wages, cut staff

By: 
December 23, 2008

Eastman Chemical Co. (Kingsport, TN) will freeze wages, reduce carryover vacation days, eliminate some overtime, and reduce contract, part-time, and management staff in a bid to cut $100 million from its 2009 costs. The company announced the moves in light of the "sudden and dramatic deterioration in the global economy," according to a statement by Eastman Chairman and CEO Brian Ferguson. Eastman says it has already completed the reduction in management staff, which will result in a $5 million restructuring charge during the fourth quarter. According to a Nov. 11 report by All Headline News (http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7012986374), Eastman announced it would cut 40 jobs from its Kingsport headquarters by the end of the year. Outside the U.S., the company is taking similar actions to reduce labor costs, and company-wide, it is evaluating non-labor costs, working capital, and capital spending.

Earlier this month, Eastman announced that James Rogers, company president and head of the chemicals and fibers business group, will be promoted to president and CEO, following the company's 2009 annual stockholders meeting on May 7. Ferguson, who has been chairman and CEO since 2002, will relinquish the position at that time, but will serve as executive chairman of the board through 2010 (more at http://www.plasticstoday.com/?q=articles/29011).

Eastman manufactures chemicals, fibers, and plastics, including differentiated coatings, adhesives, cellulose acetate fibers, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Its 2007 sales were $6.8 billion, and it employs 10,500 employees. In its most recent financial statement issued on Oct. 23 for the third quarter, Eastman reported that sales revenues were $1.8 billion, up 8% from the year-ago quarter. Third-quarter operating earnings were $174 million compared to $46 million in the third quarter of [email protected].

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