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Solvay to close down two sites of composite business
With COVID-19 leading to reduced customer demand, Solvay has decided to restructure its composite material business by closing down two sites - Manchester, UK, and Tulsa, Oklahoma (US) - and reducing global headcount by 20 per cent. The group aims to accelerate efficiency plans in its composite materials unit by reducing costs and improving productivity.
Building on measures already implemented earlier this year, Solvay's composite materials business intends to cease industrial operations at its plants in Manchester, UK, and Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA). Those activities will thereby be transferred to other best-in-class facilities, increasing capacity and improving operational efficiency. In addition, job reductions are being implemented across the business, and total headcount will likely reduce by approximately 570 positions, or around 20 per cent of its workforce.
These structural changes will enable the business to adapt its cost structures and to partially mitigate the downturn in the near term. The implementation of this plan is expected to be largely complete by the end of 2020 and will result in annualised cost savings of approximately €60 million. A restructuring charge of around €30 million will be taken in Q2.
Over the past year, Solvay’s Composite Materials business already improved operational efficiencies by increasing productivity and advancing automation. Furthermore, a cost-reduction programme was implemented in response to the reduced production of Boeing 737 MAX. These steps led to record results in 2019 and sustained performance in the first quarter 2020, but are not sufficient to overcome the significant headwinds related to COVID-19. The current crisis has triggered an industry-wide reduction in expected demand in civil aircraft build rates for the near term.
“The decision to part company with employees is never one that we take lightly," said CEO Ilham Kadri. “The steps we are taking are necessary to adapt to the dynamic environment and ensure that Solvay is competitive and strongly positioned to meet our customers' needs as growth eventually resumes - which it will.”