BASF to close Paisley chemical site with 141 job losses

The multinational chemical firm BASF is to close its plant in Renfrewshire with the loss of 141 jobs.

The site, at Hawkhead Road in Paisley, has produced pigments to colour paints, paper and plastics for almost 60 years.

BASF said the plant was "not cost competitive" in a "rapidly changing market" and the closure was part of restructuring to its global operations.

The plant was originally run by Swiss firm Ciba before being taken over by BASF as part of a £3bn buyout in 2008.

BASF made 232 workers redundant at the plant in 2010 as part of moves, which it said, were designed to safeguard its future.

In a statement, BASF said the plant was no longer viable and consultations with trade union and staff representatives would begin this week.

'Uncompetitive' site

It added: "The Paisley site manufactures Azo pigments. The global market for these pigments is shrinking.

"Increasing manufacturing capacities and the entry of new competitors have changed the business environment significantly.

"The Paisley site, which BASF acquired in 2009, is not cost competitive. Restructuring programmes over the last three years have succeeded in reducing fixed costs, but the rapidly changing market situation resulted in unsustainable manufacturing cost at the site."

The statement said that a large part of the products manufactured at the Paisley plant were used for printing - a sector which was now shrinking.

The firm added: "BASF is adapting its Azo pigment business to these changed market conditions by restructuring measures, including consolidating production at cost competitive sites.

'Major concern'

"It will stop producing Azo pigments for the printing industry and focus on innovative products, mainly for the plastics industry."

The Scottish government described the closure of the Paisley site as "a major concern" for staff and their families.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The Scottish government and our agencies will meet with the company as a matter of urgency to discuss options for the site.

"In the meantime, we have offered support to BASF through our initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (Pace).

"Through Pace, we will provide a tailored package of support for employees to minimise the time those individuals affected by redundancy are out of work."

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