Bayer AG is slashing another 4,700 jobs worldwide by 2005, but the impact of the move on its polymers business is unclear.
The additional cuts are ``unfortunately essential ... to maintain Bayer's competitiveness in these difficult times,'' Werner Wenning, management board chairman, said in a Sept. 12 news release.
Last year, Leverkeusen, Germany-based Bayer said it would cut 10,300 jobs by 2005. Of that number, 1,800 would come from polymers, where 15 plants would be closed. The polymers moves were expected to save the firm almost $625 million a year.
First-half results for Bayer show sales dropping about 8 percent to 14.7 billion euros ($14.4 billion) and profit dropping 35 percent to about 1 billion euros. Bayer's newly formed polymers group - the largest of Bayer's four new business units, with about 37 percent of first-half sales - lost $2 million in the first half of 2002 as sales fell almost 6 percent to 5.5 billion euros ($5.4 billion).
Bayer officials said 40 percent of the new cuts will come from Germany, but offered few details.
The earlier-announced polymer plant shudowns are under way, said spokesman Mark Ryan. No plant closures have been made in North America in the year since the plan was announced.
North America was Bayer's worst-performing region in the first half of 2002, losing 142 million euros ($139 million) as sales fell almost 7 percent. Last year, Bayer closed a plastics research and development site in Springfield, Mass., and a polyurethanes R&D site in Newtown Square, Pa. The firm also added a film extrusion line in Berlin, Conn., late last year.
Bayer operations in the United States and Canada include a polycarbonate and PU plant in Baytown, Texas; an ABS plant in Addyston, Ohio; a compounding operation in Hebron, Ohio; and film production in Berlin. Bayer's U.S./Canadian employee count is more than 25,000, representing about 21 percent of the firm's pre-cut global employee total of 120,000.