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European chemical makers cut jobs

BASF will eliminate 2,000 jobs from a division it created in January

by Alex Scott
September 23, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 37


BASF's headquarters site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
Credit: BASF
BASF will make cuts at locations including its headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

BASF is among several chemical companies that plan to cut jobs in Europe in the coming months.

The big German firm says it is cutting up to 2,000 employees from its Global Business Services unit, an in-house provider of logistics and financial services, by the end of 2022, as part of a new cost-reduction program. The company created the division on Jan. 1 this year with a head count of about 8,400. The firm hopes to reap annual savings of more than $230 million starting in 2023.

The cuts are in addition to 6,000 job losses BASF announced June 2019 to take place by the end of 2021. BASF has approximately 122,000 employees.

The layoffs come as the economic effects of COVID-19 continue to bite. Chemical sales in Germany—Europe’s biggest chemical producer—were down 6.1% in the first half of the year, according to the German industry association VCI.

Meanwhile, DSM has disclosed that it will reduce staffing by 105. Eighty of the cuts will take place in the firm’s Materials division and the remainder at its biotech center in Delft, the Netherlands. DSM says neither of the two sets of job cuts are a direct result of COVID-19. The Dutch firm has a global workforce of about 21,000.

And Solenis, a producer of specialty chemicals for applications such as water treatment, says it is cutting a total of 40 positions in Bradford and Grimsby, England, because of poor demand caused by COVID-19. Globally, Solenis has 5,200 employees.


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