WILMINGTON, DE - DuPont Co.'s Coatings & Color Technologies business announced plans to consolidate operations and reduce its work force by 650 positions in moves aimed at improving the productivity of the unit. Affected employees will receive "appropriate career transition support as required by local law or practice," the company said.

The company provided no specifics on facilities to be affected. The business includes the Performance Coatings and Titanium Technologies units.

"These difficult but necessary actions will enable our businesses to improve customer focus while strengthening our business performance, and thus contribute more strongly to the company's goals of sustainable growth," said Edward J. Donnelly, group vice president - DuPont Coatings & Color Technologies.

The company estimated that the moves will result in annual pretax savings of about $60 million. About one-third of the savings will be realized in 2003, with the balance to be realized in 2004. The company said it expects to take a one-time restructuring charge in the fourth quarter as a result of the moves.