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Solvay To Cut 800 Jobs

Reorganization: Action follows spin-off of pharmaceuticals business to Abbott Laboratories

by Marc Resich
September 27, 2010

Credit: Solvay
Credit: Solvay

Belgian chemicals maker Solvay plans to cut 800 jobs, about 5% of its global workforce, as part of a plan to save more than $160 million annually and reorganize the firm.

Solvay expects that about $88 million in annual savings will come from the job cuts, while the balance will come from other cost savings measures, the firm says. The actions, to be completed by 2012, are intended to refocus the firm on its chemicals and plastics businesses.

"We must remember that a rescaling of our organization was necessary in the wake of the divestment of Solvay Pharmaceuticals" to Abbott Laboratories, notes CEO Christian Jourquin. Solvay netted $7.6 billion in the deal, which was completed earlier this year.

The reorganization includes creation of two new global businesses: a specialty polymers unit to be headquartered in Bollate, Italy, and a specialty chemicals unit to be headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. The firm also intends to beef up its R&D capabilities with the creation of an innovation center at a yet-to-be-determined site. The center will operate under the direction of a chief scientific officer who will report to Jourquin.

The jobs cutback was the second hit in recent weeks against Solvay-related employees. Late last month, Abbott said it would cut 3,000 jobs, mostly at former Solvay operations in Europe (C&EN, Sept. 27, page 30).


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