Bayer MaterialScience AG will cut 1,500 jobs at its plastics operations - or 10 percent of the division's workforce - during the next two years, the firm announced Nov. 6.
Werner Wenning, chairman of Leverkusen-based parent Bayer AG, said he expects the cuts to be made through normal attrition.
In Germany, where Bayer MaterialScience has 7,000 employees, 400-500 jobs will go. Another 155 posts will be lost at the Antwerp, Belgium, Makrolon polycarbonate site.
About 200 of the job cuts will come from North America, representing about 7 percent of the region's 3,000 BMS employees. The lost jobs will be spread across all levels of the firm, including production and administration, spokesman Bill Allan said in a telephone interview.
Allan added that the company has not decided how many of the cuts will come from Bayer's regional headquarters in Pittsburgh, which employs 800. The moves are expected to be in place by mid-2009.
In a recent news release, Bayer MaterialScience LLC President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Babe said steps are being taken ``to make fundamental changes to our business that will enable us to compete more effectively over the longer term.''
Officials added that the North American cuts will let the company grow ``while concurrently reducing its cost structure.''
According to Wenning, the company also plans to cut administrative costs significantly and rigorously manage marketing and distribution costs. The company hopes the cuts will save 300 million euros ($434.6 million) annually by the end of 2009.
Bayer MaterialScience contributed a third-quarter profit, before special items, of 421 million euros ($609.9 million).