Akzo Nobel’s Base Chemicals business has signaled its intent to end chlorine transports in the Netherlands within four years after coming to an agreement in principle with the Dutch government.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Base Chemicals will close its chlorine processing plant in Hengelo and concentrate its chlorine production at sites in Rotterdam and Delfzijl. MCA production capacity will also be moved from Hengelo to Delfzijl.
This move will give Hengelo room for further urban planning and will create about 150 permanent jobs in Delfzijl. A total of 270 jobs will be lost at Hengelo.
The Akzo Nobel Base Chemicals chlorine plant in Rotterdam, meanwhile, is to increase its production capacity to 500,000 tons of chlorine annually.
These developments will enable Akzo Nobel to end the structural transport of chlorine by rail in the Netherlands from 2006.
However, Akzo Nobel will reserve the right to transport chlorine by rail incidentally, for example during plant overhauls.
The construction of the chlorine and MCA plants in Delfzijl involves an investment of EUR 130 million. Akzo Nobel Base Chemicals is to receive a government grant for the project totaling EUR 57 million. There will also be a EUR 30 million contribution to the construction of the new chlorine plant by third parties.
“This agreement is wholly in line with our policy of reducing chlorine transport to a minimum,” said Akzo Nobel CEO Cees van Lede. “We are delighted that close cooperation with the government enables us to effectively end these transports.”
Rene Schéffers, General Manager of Akzo Nobel Base Chemicals, added: “With this agreement in principle we have achieved the best possible balance between economic and social interests.
“Of course there are major consequences for our people in Hengelo, but this agreement in principle offers the best way out of the dilemma that our company and the government jointly face.”
Akzo Nobel Base Chemicals will draw up a social plan for the employees in Hengelo in close consultation with the trade unions. The Works Council will also be asked to give its advice.
The terms of the final agreement will be subject to approval by the European Commission.
(Released: July 9, 2002)