Accelerating moves that began in the fourth quarter of 2008, chemical and plastics producer Huntsman (The Woodlands, TX) will cut 1175 full-time employees and 490 contractors by the end of 2009 – equivalent to more than 9% of the company’s total staff. Huntsman believes the cuts will result in operating cost savings of approximately $150 million. In addition, the company’s Pigments Division will close its titanium dioxide plant in Grimsby, U.K. Described by Huntsman as the division’s oldest and least-efficient manufacturing facility, the Grimsby site has annual capacity of 40,000 tonnes. This move will be completed in the first quarter of 2009, affecting 200 employees and generating approximately $28 million in cost savings.
Huntsman President and CEO Peter R. Huntsman said in a release that the global economic slowdown has had a severe impact on its pigments and textiles division, and while it is “optimistic” about its current positions in polyurethanes, advanced materials, and performance products, Huntsman added the company is “scrutinizing each of our business divisions.” The company will cut 2009 capital expenditures from $420 million in 2008 to $230 million. In addition, the company’s liquidity was boosted by the $1 billion payment it received in December from Apollo Management, following its aborted venture with Apollo’s Hexion business.—[email protected]