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Huntsman Sheds Pigment Jobs, Plans

Thursday, December 4, 2014

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A year after announcing major expansion of its global pigment business, Huntsman Corp. is making sharp course corrections, with new plans for hundreds of layoffs and cuts in production capacity.

On Monday (Dec. 1), the Salt Lake City-based chemical multinational announced a "comprehensive restructuring program" to "improve the global competitiveness of its pigments and additives business."

Those plans include laying off about 900 people worldwide and "evaluating titanium dioxide (TiO2) capacity reduction options," the company said.

Images: Huntsman Corp.

A Huntsman Corp. video announced a "brighter business" in October after its $1.1 billion acquisition of Rockwood Holdings' pigments and additives portfolio.

The actions are expected to save the company $130 million annually. Huntsman reported about $13 billion in revenues in 2013.

“We are in the process of creating a global market-leading pigments and additives business with superior technology and cost-competitive manufacturing," president and CEO Peter R. Huntsman said in a statement.

Shooting for No. 2

In September 2013, Huntsman announced plans to become the world's No. 2 producer of titanium dioxide pigments by acquiring the Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide businesses of Princeton, NJ-based Rockwood Holdings Inc.

DuPont Co. is the world's largest producer of TiO2. Before the acquisition, Huntsman was No. 4, following Cristal Global and Tronox Inc.


CEO Peter R. Huntsman said the layoffs and restructuring would "improve the competitiveness of our global pigments and additives business and allow us to compete more aggressively."

Completion of the Huntsman-Rockwood deal was announced Oct. 1, 2014.

Coatings Reach

In addition to the TiO2 portfolio, the acquisition included these segments of Rockwood's Performance Additives business:

  • Functional additives used to make colors more brilliant in coatings, plastics and other products;
  • Color pigments made from non-TiO2 inorganic pigments for coatings;
  • Timber treatment wood protection chemicals for residential and commercial applications;
  • Water treatment products for industrial, commercial and municipal applciations; and
  • Automotive components.

The acquisition gave Huntsman's pigment business more than 100 products and 4,500 employees over 30 locations worldwide—"the broadest product offering of specialized pigments in the industry," Peter Huntsman said.


Acquiring Rockwood Holdings this year gave Huntsman "the broadest product offering of specialized pigments in the industry," said Peter Huntsman. Now, the company says it plans to cut capacity.

Pigments are one of five Huntsman divisions, and all five touch the coatings and construction industries.

Advanced Materials produces polymer systems; Performance Products makes intermediate chemistries and technologies; Polyurethanes makes MDI-based PUs; and Textile Effects produces chemical and dye products.

IPO Ahead

Huntsman did not say what prompted the pigment cutbacks and did not elaborate on the plans to cut TiO2 capacity.

Peter Huntsman's statement noted only that the company recently "completed major restructuring" in its Advanced Materials and Textile Effects businesses.

He also said the company was preparing to take the Pigments and Additives business public sometime in the future, adding:

"This restructuring will improve the competitiveness of our global pigments and additives business and allow us to compete more aggressively."


Tagged categories: Acquisitions; Additives; Architectural coatings; Coating Materials; Color; DuPont; Huntsman; North America; Pigments; Protective Coatings; Titanium dioxide

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