In response to decreasing market demand BASF is adjusting capacities in its European latex manufacturing network and will shut down an annual capacity of 120,000 metric tons in Europe. Customers in Europe will continue to be supplied from three BASF plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany, Pischelsdorf, Austria and Hamina, Finland. In addition, BASF will further optimize its paper chemicals portfolio by evaluating strategic options for its alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) business in Europe and North America.
At the same time, BASF will adjust marketing, sales and administrative functions in its paper chemicals business to better reflect regional market dynamics. With a global strategic marketing and innovation team BASF will strengthen its customer-oriented product and solutions development and support a faster roll out of new products to help customers improve the efficiency of paper machines and lower their total cost of operations.
Due to the planned measures approximately 250 positions in production, marketing, sales and administration will be reduced by end of 2015. Consultations with the responsible employee representatives will be conducted.
While optimizing efficiency in its traditional paper chemicals business, BASF will continue to expand its newly established Center for Sustainable Paper Packaging. “We aim to grow our new business line of sustainable solutions for packaging manufacturers. In this area, licensing of intellectual property, development partnerships and smaller acquisitions are possible,” said Dr. Uwe Liebelt, President of the Paper Chemicals division. Recently, BASF signed an agreement with the French company BT3 technologies S.A.S. to evaluate the joint development of an alternative to wax in corrugated packaging board in order to facilitate recycling.
“Altogether these measures will position the paper chemicals business to be more responsive to market and customer needs while showing significantly improved profitability. These steps reinforce BASF’s commitment to the paper industry,” continued Liebelt.
BASF continues to analyze further measures to improve the competitiveness of the Performance Products segment.