ExxonMobil buys European PP plants
HOUSTON — ExxonMobil Chemical Co. has added to its European polypropylene output by acquiring resin and compounding plants in Lillebonne, France, from Basell NV.
The resin plant has an annual capacity of 550 million pounds of impact copolymer and homopolymer PP. The compounding unit can produce about 290 million pounds of compounds each year, primarily for the automotive and appliance markets.
The transaction price was not disclosed.
The sale is part of a divestiture ordered by the European Commission after Shell Petroleum NV and BASF AG merged their polyolefin assets to form Basell in late 1999. The merger gave Basell a 40 percent share of the European PP market. The Hoofddorp, Netherlands-based firm still needs to divest another 300 million pounds of PP capacity to meet the EC's resin target.
The new deal gives Houston-based ExxonMobil about 4.8 billion pounds of annual PP capacity worldwide, moving the company into the No. 4 spot among global PP makers, according to industry estimates.
The Lillebonne plant will be ExxonMobil's second European PP site, joining a 375 million-pound-per-year resin plant in Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France.
Dow Chemical to cut work force by 4,500
MIDLAND, MICH. — Dow Chemical Co. announced May 1 it will cut 4,500 jobs — about 8 percent of its global work force — in an attempt to increase savings resulting from its recent merger with Union Carbide Corp.
Dow officials originally believed the merger would produce annual savings of $500 million and eliminate 2,000 jobs. The new level will allow the firm to save $1.1 billion per year, officials said.
Plastics generated about half of the combined $29.5 billion Dow/Carbide sales total for 2000.
The Midland-based firm is not releasing specific information as to how individual businesses, regions or plant sites will be affected but offered a look at how the number of jobs added via Carbide will be reduced: administrative staff, cut 80 percent; sales and marketing, 45 percent; research and development, 35 percent; and manufacturing, 25 percent.
Dow spokeswoman Leslie Hatfield said the job cuts will not necessarily come from former Carbide personnel but will be based on the total number of jobs added from the merger. The reductions will be completed in the next six months, Hatfield said.
Newell closing plants, 3,000 to lose jobs
FREEPORT, ILL. — Stung by slow demand for its housewares and consumer products, Newell Rubbermaid Inc. plans to close some manufacturing plants and lay off 3,000 workers to control costs.
Officials were unavailable to comment on which production plants could be closed.
Newell Rubbermaid blamed the poor financial results on weak global economic conditions, which it does not expect to change much in the second half of 2001.
Its restructuring program during the next three years will lead to annual savings of $100 million, the firm said in a May 3 news release. The job cuts represent 6 percent of its global work force.
The Freeport-based firm's Rubbermaid division, a giant plastics processor, saw its sales drop 9.9 percent to $432 million in the first quarter compared with a year ago. Its profit grew 0.1 percent to $45.1 million. Little Tikes/Graco, another major plastics user, saw sales fall 10.9 percent to $236.9 million. The unit's $13.2 million profit was 17.4 percent off the pace of a year earlier.
Modern Plastic reopens Mexico plant
CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO — Modern Plastic Technics has reopened the Mexican injection molding plant its parent company bought last fall.
Modern has renamed the Chihuahua operation ATP de Mexico SA. It formerly was Fast Plastics SA de CV. A spokesman said Modern had been remodeling the plant until the recent reopening.
ATP de Mexico initially is running five presses and employing about 25 in custom molding and assembly. It supplies parts to customers of Modern and six other subsidiaries of Applied Tech Partners. Markets served include telecommunications, electronics, automotive and health care and cosmetics. Modern's headquarters plant in West Berlin, N.J., will provide molds for the Chihuahua plant. The facility, Modern's second, has 11,000 square feet of space on a 5-acre site.