Dow Chemical to Slash 5,000 Jobs, Close 20 Plants

Moves will save company about $700 million
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 8, 2008 9:33 AM CST
In this Sept. 11, 2008 file photo, a truck leaves the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport, Texas as Hurricane Ike heads towards shore.    (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, file)
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(Newser) – Dow Chemical Co. will slash 5,000 full-time jobs—about 11% of its total work force—close 20 plants, and sell several businesses to rein in costs amid the recession, the company announced today. One of the largest chemical makers in the world, Dow expects the moves to save about $700 million per year by 2010. Dow also will temporarily idle 180 plants and prune 6,000 contractors from its payroll.

"We are accelerating the implementation of these measures," said CEO Andrew Liveris. "We must adjust ourselves to the severity of this downturn." But the company denied it will suspend dividend payments as a way to conserve cash. In a conference call today, Liveris said Dow has paid a dividend each quarter for nearly 100 years, and has no plans to stop that trend. "We will not break that string...not on my watch," he said.