Tata Chemicals to recast its European business, cut 220 jobs

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 10 2013, 04:33am hrs
Tata Chemicals today said it will restructure its European business by closing the soda ash and calcium chloride plants at Winnington in the UK due to rising energy costs, a move that will lead to 220 job losses.

Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Chemicals, is the UK's sole manufacturer and supplier of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate. It also makes and supplies salt and operates from three sites in Cheshire: Winnington and Lostock in Northwich and Middlewich.

The company's soda ash and sodium bicarbonate business in Northwich are being restructured, TCE said in a statement on its website.

"The restructuring, which is necessitated by high energy costs, will see the closure of Winnington soda ash and calcium chloride plants and a loss of 220 jobs," according to the statement.

"The closures are necessary to secure the future of TCE's remaining soda ash and sodium bicarbonate manufacturing business and around 250 jobs directly and many more associated jobs in the local Cheshire and wider regional economy," Mumbai-based Tata Chemicals said in a BSE filing.

"We expect to be able to restrict the number of compulsory redundancies to 75 through redeployment and voluntary redundancies and TCE will be providing a significantly enhanced redundancy package and a comprehensive outplacement programme to assist employees leaving the business," TCE Managing Director Martin Ashcroft said in the statement.

Production at the Winnington plants is expected to stop during the fourth quarter of the 2013-14 financial year.

TCE, formerly known as Brunner, Mond and Company, was founded in 1873 and was a part of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) when it formed in 1926. It was divested from ICI in 1991 and acquired by Tata Chemicals in 2006.

Ashcroft said: "There is real regret that TCE will have to bring to an end a long history of soda ash production at the Winnington site, but energy costs have overwhelmed the viability of these plants. Restructuring the company will provide a sustainable presence in Northwich."