SOUTHFIELD, MI -- BASF Corp. announced plans to close the company's Industrial Coatings Regional Business Unit's research laboratory in Columbus, OH, as part of a restructuring program that will centralize the unit's research and development activities at BASF's Southfield, MI, facility.

The company said the action will result in a more efficient product-development and support operation. BASF also is investing $1 million in new laboratory facilities at Southfield as part of a program aimed at strengthening the company's position as "one of the world's leading industrial-coatings manufacturers," the company said. BASF Corp. is the North American affiliate of BASF AG of Germany.

The closing of the Columbus facility, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, will affect five employees. BASF said it would attempt to find employment elsewhere in the company for those employees, or provide "an appropriate severance compensation and out-placement services."