BASF AG is moving its North American headquarters to Florham Park, N.J., and is closing an expanded polystyrene plant in South Brunswick, N.J.
The German chemical giant plans to sell its headquarters in Mount Olive, N.J., where the firm has operated since 1994. Some 1,000 employees will be affected by the move to Florham Park, which is in the same county as Mount Olive. That includes 350 information technology employees who will transfer to a site in Rockaway, N.J.
BASF spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said use of the Mount Olive site has decreased steadily over time, and the firm now is using only about 30 percent of the complex. The move is expected to be complete by the end of the third quarter.
In South Brunswick, BASF will close the 80-employee EPS site by the end of 2004, with almost 200 million pounds of production transferring to a joint venture plant in Altam¡ra, Mexico. Fitzpatrick said Altam¡ra is a multiplant site that can spread costs over a number of different operations, while South Brunswick was a single-product, single-plant site.
BASF has operated in South Brunswick since 1956, when it licensed its EPS technology to United Cork Co. BASF bought the plant outright in 1964.
The moves are part of a $250 million North American cost reduction that BASF expects to complete by the end of 2005. Since August, BASF has cut 1,000 jobs - including logistics, information technology, human resources and purchasing - in the region.
Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF also released 2003 financial results March 17. The firm's global sales grew almost 4 percent vs. 2002 to about $33.4 billion, but its profit dropped nearly 40 percent to $910 million.
In North America, BASF's sales dropped more than 8 percent to less than $7.2 billion. North American operating profit fell almost 57 percent to $10 million.
Globally, plastics was the largest of BASF's five business segments in 2003, generating more than 26 percent of total sales. The firm's global plastics sales grew almost 4 percent in 2003 to almost $8.8 billion, but the unit's operating profit plunged almost 50 percent to $296 million.