Orion Engineered Carbons to close French carbon black factory

On 3 June Orion Engineered Carbons S.A., the carbon black manufacturer, said the management of its company in France (Orion Engineered Carbons SAS) had begun consultations with the Works Council at its Ambes, France facility in order to implement a restructuring and “down staffing” with “a potential cessation of production at the site by the end of 2016”. The French Orion plant employs approximately 40 people.

Jack Clem, Orion’s group CEO, said “in order for the group to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace, it must fully utilize the capabilities of its carbon black operations, concentrating resources at more efficient facilities and those capable of producing technically special and unique grades that can compete in today’s challenging environment,” adding:

“Orion remains committed to maintaining its position as the leading producer of specialty carbon blacks and a major supplier of carbon blacks to the global rubber industry….The consolidation of the Orion group’s manufacturing operations in Europe would be another step in improving our sustainability to better serve our existing markets particularly those requiring more specialized products to meet their end customers’ demands.”

The local management says it will work with the employee representatives to assist employees directly impacted by a potential closure with a comprehensive social plan.

In the event manufacturing is stopped, the plant will be deactivated simultaneously with the depletion of the existing stocks, thus fulfilling ongoing existing customer commitments until depletion.

The Ambes, which is located roughly 20 kilometres from Bordeaux, was founded by the American Philips Petroleum Company and Continental Carbon Company in 1959 and began operations in 1960 as Cofrablack. It was purchased by Degussa, the predecessor to Orion Engineered Carbons, in 1986.

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