BASF announced plans to consolidate its coatings-manufacturing operations in North America in moves that will include the discontinuation of automotive liquid coatings production at the company's Morganton, N.C., site and the transfer of production there to facilities in Decatur, Ala., Greenville, Ohio, Tultitlan, Mexico, and Windsor, Ontario. The transfer will begin in January 2005, with shutdown of the liquid-coatings operation in Morganton to be completed by June 30, 2005.

The move will result in the elimination of approximately 100 employment positions. Powder-coatings manufacturing will continue at Morganton with the operation's current staff of approximately 10 people, the company said.

Rainer Blair, Group vice president of BASF Coatings in North America, said the moves reflect "significant productivity gains in our manufacturing sites," allowing the company "to further streamline and strengthen our North American manufacturing footprint."