W.R. Grace reductions are to include job cuts

The Baltimore Sun

Chemical maker W.R. Grace & Co. said yesterday it is making cost reductions that will include job cuts, which it expects to complete during the first half of the year as sales are hurt by the weak economy. The reductions are expected to save the company up to $30 million in operating costs. The Columbia-based company did not provide details, including how many job cuts would occur in this area. The company employs 6,300 people across the world. The announcement was made as the company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $43.4 million, or 60 cents per share, compared with $37.2 million, or 52 cents per share, a year ago. Results for both years were negatively affected by Chapter 11 bankruptcy expenses. Excluding those costs, net income would have decreased to $25 million, compared with $27.4 million a year ago. Quarterly sales decreased 4.4 percent to $768.4 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $803.7 million a year ago. The sales were due to lower volume and unfavorable currency exchange, but they were offset by higher prices. The company said yesterday that it also expects to emerge from bankruptcy in December of this year. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2001 because of asbestos-related lawsuits.

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