* Dow to close plants in Illinois, Hungary, Brazil, Portugal
* 900 workers to lose jobs
* Company aims to save $250 million per year
* Will take one-time charge of $350 million
By Ernest Scheyder
April 2 Dow Chemical Co said it will
close four plants and lay off 900 workers, part of a plan to
slash costs by $250 million annually amid a weak global economy.
Steep drops in demand for construction products, especially
in Europe, have hurt the chemical industry in the past year. Dow
makes Styrofoam, a key insulation material used in home and
The company said on Monday it will record $350 million in
one-time charges for the plant closures and layoffs. About $110
million of the total will go to laid-off workers.
Dow said Styrofoam plants in Illinois, Hungary and Portugal
will close. It will also temporarily close a Styrofoam plant in
The Illinois plant has about 30 workers and its operations
will be consolidated with a plant in New Jersey, Dow spokeswoman
Rebecca Bentley said.
Hungary and Portugal have "very poor market conditions and
unfavorable economic outlooks," Bentley said.
Dow, based in Midland, Michigan, will also close a Brazilian
plant that produces toluene diisocyanate, a chemical needed to
In the fourth quarter of 2011, Dow recorded a $264 million
tax charge for its Brazilian operations. The charge was related
to low profitability throughout the country, Bentley said.
"This plant was a significant contributor to that," she
said. "Now we're announcing we're permanently shutting down that
The company has roughly 52,000 workers around the world.
Dow's shares gained 3 cents to $34.67 in midday trading. The
stock has fallen 8.6 percent in the past 52 weeks.