April 25, 2014 / 12:21 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-BASF to sell Norway plant, cut jobs to bolster profits

* BASF to sell omega-3 fatty acids plant in Norway

* To cut 260 jobs around the world

* Aim is to bolster profits at Performance Products division (Adds details on Norway plant, executive comment, background)

FRANKFURT, April 25 (Reuters) - Germany’s BASF said on Friday it would sell a plant in Norway and cut jobs around the world as it tries to boost profits at its health and nutrition business.

BASF, the world’s biggest chemicals maker by sales, has been seeking to expand its Performance Products division that includes health and nutrition - for instance recently buying Norwegian fish oil maker Pronova - but integration of acquisitions and restructuring have weighed on profitability.

The annual operating profit margin of BASF’s Performance Products division narrowed to 12.8 percent from 13.3 percent last year.

BASF now plans to sell its Brattvag site in Norway, which makes low concentrated omega-3 fatty acids, and cut about 260 jobs in production, marketing and administration around the world by the end of 2015.

It is also building a plant in Malaysia with its partner Petronas - due to start coming on stream in 2016 - which will manufacture citral, an ingredient in flavours and fragrances, to tap into growing demand from Asia.

“Through these measures we will adapt our business to better meet market and customer needs. At the same time, we will improve our profitability,” Saori Dubourg, head of BASF’s Nutrition & Health business, said in a statement.

BASF said it would continue to look into further measures to bolster the Performance Products segment. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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