Bloomberg News

Bekaert to Cut 1,850 Jobs in China, Belgium, on Solar Market

February 03, 2012

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bekaert NV, the world’s largest maker of steel cord used in tires, will cut 1,250 jobs in China as it readjusts its sawing-wire manufacturing needs in the country. It also plans to eliminate about 600 jobs in Belgium.

Bekaert started reducing its sawing-wire operations in China in December, the company said today in a statement. Zwevegem, Belgium-based Bekaert also plans to stop all sawing- wire activities at its Belgian site in Aalter.

Bekaert, which employs 28,000 people worldwide, is reacting to overcapacity in the global solar-energy market as some governments scrap subsidies. The company has faced “persistent low demand” and a “sharp” drop in prices, Bekaert said. Sawing wire is used to slice silicon ingots into wafers for solar cells.

“Unprecedented changes in market conditions of the solar business force immediate action,” Chief Executive Officer Bert De Graeve said in the statement.

Bekaert will also study ways to reduce its global costs by 100 million euros ($131 million) annually in the coming years. The plans are necessary to restore Bekaert’s long-term profitability, the company said.

The company’s shares fell as much as 2.2 percent to 32.54 euros in Brussels after the market opened, and traded at 33.25 euros, or 0.1 percent lower, at 9:26 a.m. local time.

--Editor: Patrick G. Henry

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at aclapham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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