Wacker to Consolidate Pyrogenic Silica Production

Wacker Chemie AG announced today that it is consolidating pyrogenic silica production in the context of previously announced structural improvement measures at its WACKER SILICONES division. As a result, WACKER plans to close its Kempten site during 2011. The Munich-based chemical company intends to transfer Kempten's production volumes to Burghausen and Nünchritz, optimizing capacity utilization at these sites' high-volume facilities.

The planned closure has led to impair-ments on fixed assets of some €3.5 million and to a €5.5 million provision. WACKER has recognized both amounts in its consolidated financial statements for 2009. Currently, WACKER has about 50 employees at Kempten.

"Our goal is to close Kempten without layoffs - and I see a very good chance we'll succeed," said WACKER's Personnel Director Dr. Wilhelm Sittenthaler. Measures include offering employees jobs at Burghausen and Nünchritz. "We'll need additional people there in coming years, especially due to the expansion of our polysilicon business. And we will, of course, primarily consider our existing staff for these jobs," stressed Sittenthaler. As a result, he said he was confident that the closure could be implemented in a socially-acceptable manner via natural fluctuation, phased early retirement and severance packages.

WACKER is the world's third-largest producer of pyrogenic silica, which it markets as HDK. This high-purity, amorphous silicon dioxide powder is used as a filler in silicone elastomers and as a viscosity-adjusting agent in coatings, printing inks, adhesives, unsaturated polyester resins and plastisols. It also serves as a flow aid in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries.

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