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Joining the list of companies that have announced longer than usual end-of-the-year shutdowns are Germany's Lanxess and Merck KGaA. Lanxess has reached an agreement with employee representatives for temporary production cutbacks and plant shutdowns over Christmas and into January 2009. The arrangements apply to 23 of 45 plants at sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen, Krefeld-Uerdingen, and Brunsbuettel, Germany. Some 1,400 employees will be affected. Separately, Merck will temporarily close multiple plants and business operations for several weeks in the first half of 2009. Approximately 800 people are employed at the sites in Germany, Asia, and the U.S.
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