Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

December 09, 2008

Dow Chemical to slash 5,000 full-time positions

NEW YORK: Dow Chemical Co. said yesterday that it will slash 5,000 full-time jobs - about 11 percent of its total work force - close 20 plants and sell several businesses to rein in costs amid the economic recession. The company, one of the largest chemical makers in the world, expects the plan to save about $700 million per year by 2010. Dow also will temporarily idle 180 plants and prune 6,000 contractors from its payroll. Exactly which workers and plants will be affected is being determined, a company spokesman said. "We are accelerating the implementation of these measures as the current world economy has deteriorated sharply. Last month, Dow Chemical said it would review all options to reduce costs and eliminate or defer capital spending. Dow's actions follow those of rival DuPont, who last week said it would cut 2,500 jobs and warned that it won't turn a profit in the fourth quarter because of a slowdown in the automotive and construction markets. Like Dow, Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont is releasing 4,000 contractors, halting discretionary spending, slowing or stopping noncritical projects and temporarily idling more than 100 manufacturing units. The yearlong restructuring plan will affect about 4,200 employees, or roughly 7 percent of DuPont's work force. Because of this latest move, Dow said, it will take a fourth-quarter charge of $700 million, or 50 cents to 60 cents per share, to cover $350 million in severance payments and $350 million worth of plant shutdown costs. But the company assured shareholders it has no plans to cut its dividend, which has been issued quarterly for nearly a century.

Associated Press

Anheuser-Busch InBev to cut 1,400 U.S. jobs

BRUSSELS, Belgium : Anheuser-Busch InBev said yesterday that it would cut some 1,400 U.S. jobs - or another 6 percent of its U.S. work force - to help save the world's largest brewer at least $1.5 billion a year. It said three-quarters of the jobs cut will disappear from Anheuser's North American headquarters in St. Louis, at downtown offices and a campus in suburban Sunset Hills, Mo. A letter employees received yesterday said affected workers had not been notified, and they likely will be people who hold engineering, information technology and other corporate positions. Union workers at the company's 12 North American breweries will not be affected. The latest job cuts go beyond plans Anheuser-Busch announced this summer to streamline costs, before it agreed to be taken over by Belgium-based InBev. Most of the cuts will be made by the end of the year.

Associated Press

Oil prices rebound, rise above $43 a barrel

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. : Oil prices rebounded from four-year lows and shot above $43 a barrel yesterday as OPEC floated the possibility of a "severe" production cut and several countries announced new measures to boost their economies. Chakib Khelil, president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said Saturday that the cartel could announce a "severe" reduction of output quotas at its next meeting, Dec. 17 in Algeria.

Associated Press

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