Issue Date: October 19, 2009
Bayer Ending Shorter Hours, BASF Results Improve
Developments at Germany's two largest chemical makers indicate that the worst the economy has to offer is probably behind them. Bayer MaterialScience is ending its program of reduced working hours at its German sites in November because of an improvement in orders. In an agreement worked out with Bayer management at the end of January, Bayer production workers had taken a reduction of 6.7% of their hours and pay over an initial nine-month period. The move was meant to save money as the economy hit rock bottom while avoiding more severe short-time working measures allowed under German law. Instead of extending the program, Bayer will end it and return 4,100 German employees to their normal workweek of 37.5 hours. Meanwhile, BASF posted preliminary sales for the third quarter of 2009 of $19.1 billion, a 2.4% increase versus the second quarter. Earnings before taxes and special items of $1.9 billion marked a 9.5% jump versus the previous quarter. BASF Chairman JÜrgen Hambrecht says, "The mood is slightly brighter, and we are climbing out of the trough."
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