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Downturn Forces Shutdowns

by Marc S. Reisch
July 13, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 28

Four firms are advancing plans to shut down chemical plants because of the economic slowdown. FMC plans to close sulfur derivatives and silicates plants at its Barcelona site. The firm blames high costs and reduced demand for the closure and the loss of 73 jobs. The company will take a charge of up to $36 million against earnings. Sunoco says it will permanently shut down the ethylene complex at the firm's refinery in Marcus Hook, Pa. Insufficient demand for ethylene, ethylene oxide, and cyclohexane figured into the decision not to repair the complex, which was damaged in a fire in May. The firm plans to lay off between 40 and 50 employees. Dow Chemical intends to close its ethylene oxide and glycol facility in Wilton, England, by the end of January. Demand and profits have softened since early 2008, the firm says. The facility employs 55 people. And after reaching an agreement with its employees at its Pardies, France, site, Celanese will shut down acetic acid and vinyl acetate production by December. The company plans to take a charge of between $90 million and $100 million.


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