Chemical Maker Huntsman to Cut 900 Jobs

Features Reuters

Huntsman Corp said it would cut about 900 jobs and that it was exploring options to reduce capacity at its titanium dioxide, or white pigment, business.

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The chemical maker, which bought Rockwood Holdings Inc's pigments business for $1.1 billion in October, had been betting on a turnaround in demand for titanium dioxide.

But prices of the pigment, used as a whitener in various products including toothpaste and cars, continue to remain dismally low due to oversupply.

"They need to take some action to help support the pricing, especially in Europe," SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst James Sheehan said.

Huntsman said it expected annual savings of about $130 million by mid-2016.

The acquisition of Rockwood's unit made Huntsman the no. 2 player in the titanium dioxide industry.

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Huntsman said at the time it planned to spin off roughly 20 percent of the combined pigments business into a public entity within two years of the deal's close.

The company said on Monday it was continuing to take steps to list the entity.

Huntsman's shares were down 0.4 percent at $25.42 in early trading on Monday. Up to Friday's close, the stock had risen nearly 4 percent this year. (Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh and Kanika Sikka in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Siddharth Cavale)