DuPont Co. said April 9 it was planning a cost-cutting announcement April 12, but declined to confirm reports that it will cut 2,500 jobs.
The job cut number was cited by labor union official David Gibson in the April 9 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gibson, president of Local 1186 of the International Brotherhood of DuPont Workers, could not be reached for comment. The local represents about 450 DuPont workers in the Philadelphia area.
DuPont spokesman Irv Lipp declined to say if the announcement would include job cuts.
DuPont's Performance Materials unit - a major producer of nylon, polyester, acetal and other specialty plastics - ranked third among DuPont's business units in 2003, with sales of almost $5.4 billion. The unit also represents DuPont in the DuPont Dow Elastomers and DuPont Teijin Films joint ventures.
The unit's 2003 sales were up 9 percent vs. 2002, but its operating profit dropped 45 percent to $262 million.
Overall, DuPont sales were up 12 percent to almost $27 billion in 2003. The firm also turned a profit of $973 million after losing $1.1 billion in 2002. Results for 2003 include the Invista fibers business, which is being sold to Koch Industries Inc. Invista generated about 25 percent of DuPont sales last year.
DuPont cut 4,000 jobs in early 2001. Since then, the firm has cut 550 jobs from its film and fluoropolymer businesses.
In an unrelated matter, DuPont said it will direct DuPont Dow's response to antitrust investigations and related litigation surrounding the market for ethylene propropylene diene monomer. DuPont will fund 100 percent of any potential DuPont Dow liabilities up to $150 million and more than 75 percent of liabilities beyond that amount, officials said in an April 8 news release.
Based on the current status of the investigations, DuPont expects to take the $150 million charge in the first quarter of 2004, officials said.
``No employee must ever think that doing something illegal or unethical is in the best interest of the business,'' said DuPont Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chad Holliday.
Wilmington-based DuPont Dow is a 50-50 joint venture between DuPont and Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich. The venture posted sales of more than $1 billion last year and is a major producer of a number of specialty plastics, including Engage-brand polyolefin elastomers.