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LyondellBasell emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

May 13, 2010 at 12:13 a.m.


LyondellBasell Industries, which operates a local chemical plant, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company announced.

LyondellBasell is the world's third-largest independent chemical company and it employs about 80 area residents - 60 full-time employees and 20 contractors.

"This marks a new beginning for LyondellBasell," said Jim Gallogly, chief executive officer, in a news release. "We emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger, leaner, more competitive company, with an improved balance sheet and liquidity, intent on making LyondellBasell the industry leader."

Slammed by recession, slumping demand and volatile energy prices in 2008, the company that year announced plans to reduce its workforce from 17,000 to 14,000 employees worldwide. In January 2009, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

David Harpole, a corporate spokesman, said the ship is about righted.

"We can face future downturns much better than we could when we first faced the last downturn," Harpole said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

During the past 16 months, the company cut $1 billion in expenses, reduced its workforce and closed under-performing facilities, Harpole said. The company now has about $5.2 billion of net consolidated debt and $3 billion in liquid assets.

"We operate considerably more efficiently than we did about a year ago," he said.

The company already laid off 85 percent - or 2,550 employees - of the 3,000 workers it set out to lay off beginning in 2008. The plan calls for the remainder of layoffs to occur by year's end.

"We have not and will not specify on a site-by-site basis how many layoffs have occurred and how many will occur," Harpole said. "The Victoria site continues to contribute to the company through the operations and personnel we have there. We will continue to look at how competitive our assets are. We are currently in the process of hiring five new operators at Victoria. Those are company positions, not contractors."

LyondellBasell manufactures chemicals, plastics and refined products at 59 locations and in 18 countries. It operates locally on 33 acres near state Highway 185 between Victoria and Bloomington.

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