Cracking Investment to Safeguard the Region’s Biggest Chemistry Set
THE cracker plant at Wilton is regarded as a cornerstone of the region’s chemical industry. Following a massive investment by owner Sabic, Business Editor Andy Richardson looks at what the future holds for the biggest chemistry set in the region.
IT might be one of the most recognisable sights on our industrial landscape, but the long term future of Sabic UK’s chemical cracker, and its sister facilities, have been in doubt.
Only last year, the business carried out the latest phase in a restructure programme which saw 110 staff lose their jobs and scores of contractors axed.
The chemicals industry across Europe has suffered during the recession. The downturn meant there was a significant drop in the demand for the sort of everyday items Sabic products go into, while competition intensified.
Sabic (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) wasn’t alone in cutting costs as challengers in the US and Asia entered the market.
Announcing last April’s cuts, Mike Ducker, the site director, insisted the company was committed to Teesside even as he admitted it “is not a sustainable business model for Sabic UK Petrochemicals to remain as it is.”
Following last Thursday’s news that the firm was making an undisclosed, but “very significant” investment in the plant, backed by £9m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), Mr Ducker clearly relished the chance to be making a positive announcement.
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