December 1, 2014 / 1:38 PM / in 3 years

Chemical maker Huntsman to cut about 900 jobs

A maleic anhydride unit is seen at Huntsman's polyurethane plant in Geismar, Louisiana April 15, 2014. Picture taken April 15, 2014.Jonathan Bachman

(Reuters) - Huntsman Corp (HUN.N) said it would cut about 900 jobs and that it was exploring options to reduce capacity at its titanium dioxide, or white pigment business, under a broader restructuring program.

Shares of the chemical maker, which has about 12,000 employees, were down 1.8 percent at $25.07 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

The chemical maker, which bought Rockwood Holdings Inc's ROC.N pigments business for $1.1 billion in October, had been betting on a turnaround in demand for titanium dioxide.

But prices of the pigment, used as a whitener in various products from toothpaste to car paints, continue to remain dismally low due to oversupply.

Huntsman would need to cut costs and close a plant in Europe to balance supply with demand, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst James Sheehan said.

Huntsman could close its high-cost plant in Uerdingen, Germany, acquired under the Rockwood deal, Sheehan said.

Huntsman, said it expected the restructuring to save about $130 million by mid-2016.

Huntsman had earlier said it planned to spin off roughly 20 percent of the combined pigments business into a public entity within two years of the deal's close.

The company said on Monday it was continuing to take steps to list the entity.

Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh and Kanika Sikka in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Siddharth Cavale

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