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BASF Restructuring Paper Chemicals Business

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BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, is implementing a series of measures in its paper chemicals business to further strengthen the competitiveness of its Performance Products segment. In response to decreasing market demand, the company 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, 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 the end of 2015. Consultations with the responsible employee representatives will be conducted.

While optimizing efficiency in its traditional paper chemicals business, BASF says it 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 to evaluate the joint development of an alternative to wax in corrugated packaging board, 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.

 

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