The swiss group of chemistry Clariant will eliminate 500 to 600 jobs over the next two years, he announced Thursday during the publication of its annual results, in the face of an economic environment “weak” which is expected to persist in 2020. For the past year, the swiss group, in the midst of transformation, reported earnings significantly below expectations, due to a provision of 231 million swiss francs. It had been formed in expectation of results of a survey of the European Commission on suspicions of understanding in the sector on the market of ethylene.
Net income for the past year has slumped to 38 million swiss francs, compared to 356 million in the previous year, he stated in a press release. Its turnover, however, remained stable at 4.3 billion swiss francs (4 billion euros), the foreign exchange effects adverse trimming sales growth in local currencies, up 3%.
By comparison, analysts polled by swiss agency AWP had forecast on average a profit of 96 million swiss francs to 4.3 billion turnover. “In 2019, we have made a significant step forward in our strategy of refocusing on our specialty businesses,” said Hariolf Kottmann, its president, which, since July, the interim director general, quoted in the press release. “To the extent that we expect that the weak economic environment continues in 2020, we have launched efficiency measures”, he added.
The job cuts are expected to reduce the cost base of about 50 million swiss francs, he quantified. The group, based in Muttenz, on the outskirts of Basel, had a hectic time since 2017, after the failure of its proposed merger with the american Huntsman, which opposed a group of shareholders, including the fund american activist Corvex, who had climbed into its capital to block the transaction.
The units accumulated were then resold to the group saudi chemical Sabic. Clariant had launched a major reorganization, including the consolidation of its additives and masterbatches, with a part of the activities of the new shareholder. But the project had been abruptly suspended following the departure surprise of the new director general, from the ranks of Sabic.