Albemarle to close phosphorous flame retardants business

Albemarle is planning to close its phosphorous flame retardants business in Avonmouth, UK, to address underperforming assets.

The proposal to exit the business and cease operations at the UK site is subject to consultation with the company's employees.

The process to cease the company's phosphorous flame retardants business operations at the Nanjing site, China, has also started.

"Albemarle's annual earnings per share are expected to improve by $0.10 to $0.15 per share in 2013."

Expenditure for the closure of both plants is expected to be in the range of $5m to $15m, with payback in approximately one year.

The company is also expecting to incur a one-time after-tax charge in the range of $80m-$95m in the second quarter to account for severance costs and asset write-downs. Albemarle's annual earnings per share are expected to improve by $0.10 to $0.15 per share in 2013.

Luke Kissam, Albemarle chief executive officer, said one of the fundamental drivers of the company's future growth is the ability to manage their business portfolio and show discipline in addressing underperforming assets or product lines.

"It has become clear that our current phosphorus business and product lines are not strategically aligned with Vision 2015's growth plans," Kissam said. "We recognise the impact a proposed closure would have on our employees, their families and the communities where they live, and we will strive to minimise this impact."

Production at both facilities will end upon completion of current customer contracts.

Headquartered in the US, Albemarle manufactures specialty chemicals for petroleum refining, consumer electronics, utilities, packaging, construction and transportation industries.