UPDATE 2-BASF factories closed by Dutch safety inspectors

Thu Nov 8, 2012 9:23am EST

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(Adds company spokeswoman, details)

AMSTERDAM Nov 8 (Reuters) - Production was halted at two Dutch plants belonging to German chemicals company BASF earlier this week for safety reasons, the company told Reuters on Thursday.

Authorities found "basic failings" in the plants' safety systems during a routine inspection, local news agency ANP reported.

Production at the plants in De Meern, near the central Dutch city of Utrecht, which make catalysts, had been suspended since Tuesday after a regular safety inspection by public authorities, a BASF spokeswoman said.

Inspectors found safety systems were not functioning properly. BASF said further tests would be carried out.

It was not clear when production would resume at the plants and whether the closures would hurt business. The spokeswoman added that no accident had taken place and there was no risk to the environment.

A third plant at the same site remained open.

Excessive ammonia emissions were detected at the same site at the end of October, but the company said the two incidents were not related.

The three plants in De Meern employ 231 people and make catalysts used in the production of plastics and medicines. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Dan Lalor and David Holmes)

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