LyondellBasell Industries is closing a materials plant in Akron, Ohio, in a move that will eliminate 64 jobs.
In a June 26 letter to state officials under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, officials with LBI in Houston said that operations at the plant will end on Dec. 15, with "a limited number" of employees remaining after that date to assist with decommissioning the facility. Job cuts at the Exeter Road site are expected to begin on Sept. 2 and to be completed by April 1, 2024.
The Akron plant being closed makes color concentrates. A LyondellBasell spokesman told Plastics News that production from the site will be moved to a plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
The spokesman said that plant will continue to meet the same specifications “and will allow us to provide improved service capabilities of our customers in the Americas.”
The plant being closed is one of two that LyondellBasell operates in Akron. The second Akron plant, which makes materials for food, medical and consumer markets, will remain open.
LBI acquired the Akron plant in early 2018 as part of its $2.25 billion acquisition of A. Schulman Inc., a leading compounder and concentrates maker that had been based in Fairlawn, Ohio. LBI closed the former Schulman headquarters in Fairlawn in early 2020.
The former Schulman business now operates as part of LBI's Advanced Polymer Solutions unit, which ranks as North America's largest compounder. Earlier this year, LBI made organizational changes to the APS unit.
"We are, of course, not happy at all with the results in the APS business," CEO Peter Vanacker said at the time. "There are lots of factors [such as] market demand and higher costs that we have seen last year … so we have decided to reposition [APS] and run it as a separate company within LyondellBasell."
For full-year 2022, APS posted sales of more than $5.2 billion, up almost 2 percent vs. 2021, but operating profit slumped almost 30 percent to $201 million. The unit's compounding sales volume in pounds was down 3 percent to a little more than 3.3 billion pounds. Based on sales, APS represented a little more than 10 percent of LBI's total for 2022.