Rohm & Haas to Trim Jobs, Plants


Rohm and Haas yesterday said it will eliminate about 900 jobs and idle or close underutilized plants as part of measures to cut costs in response to a slowing economy and widespread market weakness.

The Philadelphia-based industrial chemicals company, which has about 16,500 employees, said the layoffs will impact positions across all of its regions and businesses except its salt division. Yesterdays announcement is on the heels of cost-saving actions in June that included cutting 925 jobs.

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Rohm and Haas makes specialty amines used as building blocks or components in lubricant additives, and metalworking fluid microbiocides and fungicides, in addition to many other products.

Other changes announced yesterday include adjusting production schedules in some manufacturing facilities to reflect current market softness, and freezing discretionary spending and employee salaries for 2009 where possible. The company expects to complete most of the actions this year, and expects the changes to deliver pre-tax savings of about $90 million.

We will continue to control costs in order to compete effectively, while preserving our capacity to accelerate performance when markets recover, said Pierre Brondeau, president and chief operating officer.

In July 2008, Dow announced it would acquire Rohm and Haas for $18.8 billion. At the time, Dow said it planned to contribute complementary businesses, including biocides, to the existing portfolio of Rohm and Haas, which would retain its Philadelphia headquarters and continue doing business under its own name.

The companies said they expected to complete the transaction in early 2009. On Jan. 8, Rohm and Haas said the transaction had completed all necessary approvals in Europe, and that the sole remaining regulatory clearance necessary for closing was that of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

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