BASF to close part of plant

Published 11:38 pm Friday, July 29, 2011

A chemical company with a location in Suffolk announced Friday it will shut down part of its Suffolk facility and transfer the operation to England.

BASF is consolidating production of PAM beads, which are used in a variety of industries such as water treatment and mining. They now will be manufactured solely at a facility in Bradford, England.

The move will occur in January 2012, according to a press release the company sent on Friday. About 50 employees are affected, although it was not clear from the press release whether they will be laid off or offered other positions.

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Other production activities at the site on Wilroy Road will not be affected, company officials said.

“The consolidation of PAM bead production is strengthening our business,” said Dr. Matthias Halusa, head of BASF’s water solutions division. “Together with our focused investments at our West Memphis and Suffolk sites, it will also support BASF’s profitable growth strategy for North America.”

PAM stands for polyacrylamide. The products are used in the process of clarifying drinking water by separating the solids from it; for mineral extraction processes in the mining industry; for drilling in the oil industry; and for drainage in paper machines in the paper industry.

The production plant in England has the capacity to supply enough of the products for the worldwide demand, the press release said.

The company will be investing in capacity expansions for other areas of the Suffolk plant, the press release said.