HOECHST'S PLANT IN RI TO ELIMINATE 80 JOBS

HOECHST'S PLANT IN RI TO ELIMINATE 80 JOBS

The town's largest employer will eliminate about 80 jobs during the next six months as part of a restructuring, the company said.

Hoechst Celanese Corp., which employs 870 people, on Thursday offered employees an early retirement package that David McKinnon, plant manager, said was designed to minimize future layoffs.Mr. McKinnon said the number of layoffs would not be known until late October.

The company, which produces dyes and pigments, said the cutbacks were necessary because of a decision to stop producing some chemicals used in production. Studies showed it would be cheaper to purchase the chemicals than to produce them, the company said.

Changing conditions in export markets also led the company to compress production schedules in one area of the plant from four shifts daily to three shifts, five days a week.

"Offshore competition in our primary businesses continues to exert extreme cost pressures on the Coventry plant," Mr. McKinnon said. "Taking these steps is unfortunate, but necessary, to ensure that we remain one of Rhode Island's major employers."

Workers laid off in January would be paid until April and receive job training and counseling coordinated by the plant and the Rhode Island Department of Employment and Training, Mr. McKinnon said.

Hoechst Celanese is a subsidiary of Hoechst AG of Germany.