UPDATE 1-Evonik eyes 250 mln euros annual cost savings from 2016

Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:42pm EDT

* Cutbacks to affect administration

* Peers Lanxess, Bayer also cutting costs

* Evonik to reduce number of executive board members (Adds background on cost cuts at peers)

FRANKFURT, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Germany's Evonik said on Monday it aims to reduce administrative costs by 250 million euros ($338 million) per year from 2016, becoming the latest European chemicals maker to announce cutbacks.

The maker of feed additives, acrylic glass and high-tech plastics said in a statement that the programme, which includes the reduction of the number of executive board members to four from six, completes the transition from an industry conglomerate to a specialty chemicals group.

"In many parts of the company the current administrative functions still reflect the needs of the former diversified group," it said, adding that the overhaul would also allow it to react faster to changing market conditions.

Evonik, which made its stock market debut on April 25, said last month it would step up cost cutting measures and slash its investment budget as it cautioned investors about its business prospects.

A number of peers are retrenching in the face of weak industrial demand and slower growth in China. Lanxess, the world's largest maker of synthetic rubber, as well as diversified healthcare and plastics group Bayer last week announced cost cutting measures.

Union officials at Total said earlier this month the French oil major and petrochemicals maker is expected to announce a decision to close an ethylene plant, which faces surplus supply and competition from cheap U.S. ethylene.

Evonik said that an unspecified number jobs would be cut but that it would not resort to forced redundancies.

Instead, an existing agreement with organised labour to refrain from forced redundancies would be extended by two years until 2018, it added. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Peter Dinkloh and David Evans)