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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Chemicals factory shutdown
Basell plant on Teesside
The plant on Teesside is one of three facing closure
Chemical company Basell has announced 160 jobs will be lost with the closure of a plant in north-east England.

The polypropylene company will close its plant at Teesside's Wilton site next year.

The news comes less than a month after BP announced 81 job losses with the closure of its polythene-making factory at Wilton.

Robert Genin, president of Basell Europe Polypropylene said: "These steps are being taken after a careful review of all assets to assess their viability.

Market slowdown

"We appreciate all the effort that has gone into trying to make the plants efficient and productive, but they have remained among our highest cost operations.

"By taking this action now Basell will improve its financial position and make a major contribution to reducing over capacity in Europe."

Redcar MP Vera Baird told BBC News Online the news had come as a shock and called for urgent talks with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the future of Wilton

vera baird
Vera Baird: "Shocked" by the news
She blamed a slowdown in the polypropylene market for the closure.

"It is a real tragedy for the workers at Basell, who include some highly-skilled individuals in the chemical industry.

"This is the second closure at Wilton in the last 30 days and the people of Redcar need to be reassured the government is doing everything possible to attract new investment into the site.

"I am seeking a high-level meeting with the DTI to discuss the matter."

Basell has also announced the closure of two plants in Tarragona, Spain.

We will treat the employees affected by these actions with fairness and dignity

Robert Genin, president of Basell Europe Polypropylene

The two site closures in Tarragona are likely to cause only minimal impact on employees due to another plant currently under construction in the area.

Mr Genin said: "We will treat the employees affected by these actions with fairness and dignity.

"There will be some limited opportunities for redeployment within Basell and we will provide all employees with a comprehensive support and severance package including an outplacement service."

Basell serves customers in more than 120 countries with materials produced in 18 countries.

See also:

21 Aug 01 | Business
Petroleum giant to close factory
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