LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY — Chemicals giant BASF SE plans to shed up to 500 jobs worldwide by the end of 2015 as it seeks to respond to the economic downturn.
The Germany-headquartered group said the majority of the job losses would take place in Switzerland as it sought to make its Performance Products division — which includes plastic additives, pigments and resins, water, leather and textiles — more competitive.
BASF said its plastic additives business would see the introduction of a "more market-oriented approach."
Focusing on a network of what it called global competence centers, BASF said its research office in Basel, Switzerland, would be scaled back, and there would also be less need for the administrative services provided by its business center, located in the same city.
This restructuring would result in up to 350 positions being lost in the Basel area, the group said, with alternative positions being found for as many of those affected as possible.
Remaining job cuts would occur in BASF's pigments and resins business, which would also see synergies created by "bundling expertise and competencies" across the operation.
Michael Heinz, a member of BASF's executive board and responsible for its Performance Products segment, said: "The expansion of our specialty business in the Performance Products segment made us more robust to economic fluctuations.
"However, the growth and profitability of the standard products do not yet meet our requirements. We have therefore identified numerous measures which we are implementing step by step."
Further measures were being analyzed, he said, although no details were given.