MARIETTA, Ga.—Birla Carbon is restructuring its operations in the European and African region to preserve the long-term future success of the company.
A flagship business of Aditya Birla Group, a global conglomerate, the company's restructuring plan includes:
• the proposed shut down of the firm's Hanover, Germany, plant;
• closure of a production line at its Alexandria, Egypt, facility; and
• a significant reduction of regional corporate personnel.
A company official said the restructuring activities are subject to local consultation requirements and restrictions in each affected area.
Birla Carbon plans to consolidate and move production to its remaining manufacturing facilities in the region once the restructuring is complete.
While a company spokesman did not give specific answers to questions dealing with present and future restructuring, he did provide a statement from the company, which noted that the firm continually evaluates its strategy and identifies strengths and opportunities based on evolving market demands.
As part of the firm's approach, the statement said, “The proposed closure of the Hanover plant in Germany was announced and the permanent closure of one production line in Alexandria, Egypt.
“The proposed closure will comply with all processes in line with local regulations and will occur over the course of 2016. At this time, the company has no further restructuring plans.” It did not say how many employees will be laid off.
Kevin Boyle, chief operating officer of the company, said in a news release that a “challenging macroeconomic environment, continued slow growth dynamics of the region and the unfavorable impact of the current oil market make this decision necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of our business.
“These are difficult actions as we know they will impact our valued employees and the communities where we operate.” He noted that the company continually evaluates how best to serve its customers across the globe.
The decision to make cuts at the Hanover and Alexandria plants along with any others impacted “comes only after careful consideration of all alternatives and is a critical step to position the company for future success,” according to John Loudermilk, president of the firm's North America, Europe and Africa regions.
Birla Carbon is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of carbon black. The firm's footprint extends across 13 countries with 16 manufacturing facilities.
It has two technology centers—one at its Marietta plant and the other at its facility in Taloja, India— along with laboratories at its production plants, which provide continuous research and development. It produces a range of products across ASTM grades and specialty blacks to meet specific end requirements across tire, rubber, plastics, coatings, inks and other niche industries, the company said.
Aditya Birla, headquartered in India, created a major presence in the U.S. in June 2011 when it purchased Marietta-based Columbian Chemicals Co. for almost $900 million. That deal also pushed Birla Carbon near the top of the carbon black company rankings worldwide with Cabot Corp.
In an unrelated move, Connell Bros. Co. L.L.C. has expanded its agreement with Birla Carbon to take over its sales and distribution of specialty carbon blacks in South Asia.
The pact includes the sales and distribution of Raven and Conductex product lines into the non-rubber market segments in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
It also includes the sales ASTM grades in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Union Territory Puducherry as well as Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh for non-rubber market segments.