BASF to cut jobs amid merger of water treatment, mining and oilfield solutions

BASF will combine its businesses with water solutions and oilfield and mining solutions effective April 1, 2013, to increase efficiency and support its growth strategies, the company said late Wednesday. 

The new global business unit will be located in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

“By combining the strengths of these businesses, sharpening our focused market approach and at the same time increasing operational and innovation excellence, we are in a good position to advance innovative solutions to the water, oilfield and mining industries,” said Hans W. Reiners, president of BASF’s performance chemicals division.

BASF says it offers a wide range of products for key processes of industrial and municipal water treatment, products for the drilling and completion of oil wells and mineral processing reagents for the mining industry. All three businesses include parts of the polyacrylamide (PAM) value chain.

The company said significant investments are planned to upgrade the performance of existing production plants, create additional capacity, strengthen research and development (R&D) efforts and establish a new bio-acrylamide process for further cost optimization.

Job cuts planned

As part of the plan for its water solutions business, BASF expects to reduce its workforce by about 215 positions worldwide, with most of the planned job reductions will occur at the Bradford and Grimsby sites in the UK.

“The planned comprehensive measures are needed to achieve cost competitiveness," said Reiners.

"These efforts will be backed by considerable investments in new technologies in Europe as well as in North America and in R&D,” he added. 

BASF expects to complete the planned measures at the latest by end of 2015.

Within the future setup, the PAM product line and the respective operations will be jointly managed for all three businesses following an integrated PAM strategy covering both, cationic and anionic PAM.

Water solutions to divest industrial water management business

BASF added that its new water solutions business will in future fully concentrate on providing innovative chemical solutions to the water market.

As a result, the company is planning to divest its service-oriented industrial water management business, located in Lyon, France, to a strategic partner "capable to further expand the business" and "giving the current 61 employees a long-term perspective", it said.

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