Katalistiks to end most operations in Baltimore almost 100 losing jobs

March 17, 1992|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

Katalistiks International, a Baltimore-based manufacturer of chemicals used in petroleum refining, told its 100 employees yesterday that the majority of them will lose their jobs in June when the company phases out most of its operations here.

The phaseout affects about 35 workers at Katalistiks' headquarters in Mount Washington and an additional 65 at the company's research laboratory in the Seton Industrial Park, General Manager Robert F. Anderson said yesterday.

The company will also close a manufacturing plant in Savannah, Ga., that employs 170 workers.

Although Katalistiks will begin phasing out its operation here immediately, Mr. Anderson said, workers are being offered a severance package that continues their salary until mid-June.

He said the gradual phaseout "also gives our customers time to line up new suppliers."

Mr. Anderson said only about a half-dozen workers would be retained to continue the company's catalytic additives business. The additives are chemicals that are used to help prevent pollution at oil refineries.

Mr. Anderson said Katalistiks posted a loss "in excess of $10 million" last year as a result of an industrywide glut that has sharply reduced the price of its products.

The company has been looking for a potential buyer for several months, "but nobody said yes," Mr. Anderson said.

He added that the company's "significant negative cash flow" also ruled out any possible employee buyout. "We could not make it bank able," he said.

Katalistiks is owned by UOP, a joint venture of Allied-Signal Inc. and Union Carbide Corp.

Mr. Anderson said the move to phase out Katalistiks dates back to October 1991, when Allied-Signal announced it was taking pretax write-offs totaling $880 million for streamlining and restructuring of the company.

At that time, Allied said it would eliminate more than 5,000 jobs and close some plants.

Katalistiks was formed here about 10 years ago, according to Mr. Anderson.

It was acquired by Union Carbide in 1984 and made a part of UOP in 1988.

Mr. Anderson described the Seton laboratory staff as "a highly educated" group of chemists, chemical engineers and "highly trained technicians."

The Mount Washington office included the headquarters staff along with the sales and accounting operations.

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