BASF to axe 500 jobs in speciality chemicals ops

German chemicals giant BASF said Tuesday it plans to axe around 500 jobs worldwide, including 350 in Switzerland, in its so-called performance products division over the next two years.

The cuts are part of a general restructuring of the group's businesses in plastic additives, pigments, water, leather and textile chemicals in response to "the changed market environment," BASF said in a statement.

"The currently planned measures will lead to a reduction of about 500 positions worldwide by the end of 2015."

In Basel in particular, centre of BASF's European operations for the plastic additives, pigments and resins business, a total 350 jobs would be cut by the end of 2015, the statement said.

The group pledged to implement the cuts "in a socially responsible manner."

BASF "will attempt to find job opportunities in other BASF Group companies for as many employees as possible," it said.