Dow cuts could hit home

It’s unclear if the fallout from Dow Chemical Co.’s restructuring plans will reach Central Alberta.

It’s unclear if the fallout from Dow Chemical Co.’s restructuring plans will reach Central Alberta.

The international company, which operates a polyethylene plant at Prentiss, announced on Tuesday that it will cut 2,400 positions, or approximately five per cent of its global workforce. It also plans to shut down about 20 manufacturing facilities and reduce capital spending and investment.

Dow identified eight of the facilities it will be closing, with these located in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Ohio and Michigan.

Asked whether Dow’s Alberta plants will be affected by the cuts, a company spokesman said Dow is currently only providing information about workforce reductions on a “regional level.”

“Of the 2,400 jobs impacted, 50 per cent will be in North America,” he said.

According to Dow’s website, its Prentiss plant has more than 200 employees and contractors on site.

The company is also a joint venture partner with Petrochemical Industries Company of Kuwait in MEGlobal, which operates two ethylene glycol plants at Prentiss. And it has a 50 per cent interest in an ethylene cracker at Joffre, with Nova Chemical Corp. the other owner.

Dow anticipates total savings of $2.5 billion from its cuts, which includes $1.5 billion related to action that the company has already initiated.

“The reality is we are operating in a slow-growth environment in the near term and, while these actions are difficult, they demonstrate our resolve to tightly manage operations — particularly in Europe — and mitigate the impact of current market dynamics,” said Andrew Liveris, Dow’s chairman and CEO, in a release.

Last year, Dow had annual sales of $60 billion and employed approximately 52,000 people worldwide. It produced more than 5,000 products at 197 sites in 36 countries.

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