MUNICH, Germany - Wacker Chemie AG 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, Germany, site during 2011. The Munich-based chemical company intends to transfer Kempten’s production volumes to Burghausen, Germany, and Nünchritz, Germany, optimizing capacity utilization at these sites’ high-volume facilities. The planned closure has led to impairments on fixed assets of some EUR 3.5 million and to a EUR 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 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 via natural fluctuation, phased early retirement and severance packages.