Chemtura Restructures, Cuts Workforce


Chemtura on April 4 announced a major restructuring, reducing from six business units to four, and cutting its global workforce by 620 positions. Robert Wedinger heads the new Performance Specialties group, including petroleum additives and lubricants.

Chemtura supplies a wide range of petroleum additive components and base stocks to the lubricants industry, claiming to account for 12 percent of the former worldwide. Based in Middlebury, Conn., Chemtura’s additives for the lubricants industry include antioxidants, antiwear additives, corrosion inhibitors, dispersants, emulsifiers, extreme pressure additives, grease thickening components, lubricating additives and viscosity modifiers. It produces esters in Elbeuf, France; phosphate esters in Manchester, England; polyalkylene glycols in California, Illinois and Texas; and polyalphaolefins and poly internal olefins in Elmira, Ontario.

The company expects to eliminate about 10 percent ofits global workforce, some 620 positions,resulting in an annualized cost reduction of about $50 million starting in 2008. It plans to record charges related to the restructuring in the range of $25 million to $35 million. Chemtura said it expects to notify most affected personnel by the end of the second quarter.

Robert Wood, chairman and chief executive officer, said that as a result of the changes, several company vice presidents would leave Chemtura, including Tom Geise, crop protection; John Lacadie, chief technology officer; Janet Mann, petroleum additives; Marcus Meadows-Smith, executive vice president for plastic additives and crop protection; and Al Stratton, global manufacturing.

The restructuring calls for Chemtura to simplify its financial reporting structure to four units: Performance Specialties – which will include the former petroleum additives, urethanes, optical monomers and fluorine specialties – to be led byWedinger; Polymer Additives, which will include the former plastic additives and flame retardants business units, and will be led by Anne Noonan; Consumer Products, led in the interim by Kim Nicholson; and Crop Protection, led in the interim by Greg McDaniel.

Wedinger has been vice president and general manager for process chemicals and polymers for Chemtura Corp. He joined Chemtura in May 2006 and has had responsibility for the rubber additives and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) polymers business, which Chemtura announced Feb. 5 it would sell to Lion Copolymer, based in Baton Rouge, La.

Mary Ann Dunnell, vice president for corporate and financial communications, told Lube Report the designated leaders are now in place for the new business groups. Now theyre forming their organizations and are in the process of designing them, Dunnell said.

She said its too early to tell how the changes will impact the petroleum-based additives portion of Chemturas business. The idea is were going to try to approach customers in more of an industry-based focus rather than the product-based focus that we had been doing previously, Dunnell said. We expect to know more about our customers organizations, and about our customers customers, so we can do a better job of anticipating their needs and helping them prepare for the future.

Chemtura is the largest supplier of natural petroleum sulfonates for metalworking fluids, and one of the worlds few suppliers of high-viscosity polyalphaolefins. Chemtura was formed in 2005 through the merger of Crompton Corp. and Great Lakes Chemical, and had pro-forma revenues that year of $3.9 billion.

Last December, Chemtura announced it was acquiring Kaufman Holdings Corp., whose two operating companiesare Hatco Corp. and Anderol Inc. Hatco is a leading producer of polyol esters used for synthetic lubricant applications, including aviation turbine oils and lubricants for CFC-free refrigeration compressors. Anderol is a producer of synthetic lubricants used in aviation and industrial applications such as compressors, bearings, gears and food-grade machinery.

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