Belgium's Solvay to cut hundreds of jobs - De Tijd

BRUSSELS, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Belgian chemicals group Solvay plans to cut hundreds of jobs as part of a restructuring plan, Belgian business daily De Tijd reported on Wednesday.

De Tijd reported that an unidentified source said 900 jobs would be affected, although some staff may be offered alternative positions.

In an emailed statement, Solvay said it was re-examining its business support activities, such as human resources, IT, procurement and legal functions. The company, which has a workforce of some 24,000 people, said it was informing employees and unions of its plans on Wednesday morning.

Solvay declined to give any figures on job losses, but said the review was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The decision to implement the new operating model for business support activities will be taken after a consulting phase. The implementation should start in Q2 2021,” Solvay said.

The restructuring would not be the first significant move by chief executive Ilham Kadri, who has headed the company for nearly two years.

The company, whose products range from base chemicals such as soda ash to speciality polymers used in cars and planes, planned last year to make 500 staff redundant to help towards a medium-term cost-reduction target of at least 350 million euros ($427.5 million).

Solvay has suffered earnings declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic but expects 2020 free cash flow to be 50% higher than in 2019. ($1 = 0.8187 euros) (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)