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BASF to cut jobs, close units in response to high energy costs

February 25, 2023 00:00:00

FRANKFURT (Germany), Feb 24 (AFP): German chemical giant BASF said Friday it would cut thousands of jobs worldwide and close several units at its historic home in Ludwigshafen as it contended with sharply increased energy prices.

"High energy prices are now putting an additional burden on profitability and competitiveness in Europe," BASF CEO Martin Brudermueller said in a statement.

Brudermueller also criticised European "overregulation, slow and bureaucratic permitting processes".

In response, BASF aimed to save 500 million euros ($530 million) a year in non-production areas by the end of 2024, including a net loss of "around 2,600 positions", the group said.

A further 200 million euros would be shaved off by the end of 2026 with the closure of production facilities at its site in Ludwigshafen, in southwest Germany.

This would include the shutting of an energy-intensive ammonia plant and related facilities for the production of fertilisers.

The measures will also lead to the loss of around 700 production jobs in Ludwigshafen, which employs around 39,000 people, but Brudermueller said he was confident "most of the affected employees" could be relocated to other plants.

In 2022, BASF confirmed a net loss of 627 million euros, less than the figure of 1.4 billion euros initially announced in January.

Sales rose by 11 per cent to 87 billion euros, while operating profit amounted to 6.9 billion euros before extraordinary measures, a drop of around 12 per cent.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, launched a year to the day, was followed by a rapid increase in the cost of energy as Moscow dwindled gas supplies to Europe.

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