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Solvay to restructure operations, cut 600 jobs

Solvay said on Thursday that it is taking new steps in its transformation to enhance long-term growth as an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company. The plans include relocating its Aubervilliers, France, and almost all of its Paris activities to Lyon, France, and—to a lesser extent—to Brussels, concentrating research and innovation (R&I) into these centers. In France, Solvay plans to upgrade its largest worldwide research site at Lyon to a center for advanced chemistry. In Belgium, the expansion of R&I in advanced materials science would coincide with plans to revamp the company’s Brussels headquarters.

The move will lead to about 600 net redundancies, mainly in functional activities, including 160 in France, 90 in Portugal, and 80 in Brazil. The planned job losses account for 2.4% of Solvay’s total workforce. Natural turnover, voluntary leave, and internal repositioning will help mitigate these impacts, the company says. The concentration of the R&I and support activities would involve the transfer to Lyon and Brussels, over four years, of about 500 employees.

Solvay today launched the relevant information/consultation procedures with employee representatives, which it expects to complete at the end of June. The impact on Solvay’s financial performance over the next three years will be provided with first-quarter earnings.

“Over the past six years we built a business portfolio to generate superior and sustainable growth. Now we need to follow through and drastically simplify our organization and processes, as well as align all our resources. This will allow Solvay to provide differentiated experiences for customers and maximize value for the group,” says Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay.