Orica Ltd. plans to divest its remaining plastics business, resin maker and compounder Qenos Pty. Ltd.
Qenos employs about 1,100 and is a joint venture between Orica and Kemcor Australia Pty. Ltd. All the companies are based in Melbourne.
Orica's share of Qenos' loss for the six months to March 31 was A$5.4 million (US$2.9 million). The division was affected by industrial action and lower regional prices, according to Malcolm Broomhead, Orica chief executive officer.
He said Qenos ``continues to struggle,'' but performance improvements are in progress ``with a view to divestment in the longer term.''
Orica is restructuring to reduce costs and lift profitability. Cost reductions include plant closures, plant efficiency improvements and selling the corporate office in Melbourne. Broomhead said Orica recorded cost savings of A$25 million (US$13.5 million) in the six months to March 31.
For the same period, Orica recorded an overall profit of A$80.4 million (US$43.4 million), a 167 percent increase over the same period last year.
Orica sold its other plastics arm, Australian Vinyl Corp., in January.