PARIS, July 7 -- Total Petrochemicals will cease elastomer production at its Antwerp, Belgium, facility "after several years operating in increasingly tough economic and competitive conditions."
The Antwerp facility produces synthetic thermoplastic rubbers, which are used for bitumen modifications, technical compounds, and improving the technical qualities of some plastics.
The decision to shut production came despite Total refocusing its sales on Europe in December 2004 "in an attempt to restore the financial equilibrium of the business," the company said.
The plan would lead to the loss of 144 jobs134 in Antwerp and 10 in Brusselsalthough Total said there should be no lay-offs. Rather, employees will either be redeployed elsewhere in the company or benefit from early retirement.