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WeylChem to close Griesheim site

WeylChem has announced plans to close its historic site at Frankfurt-Griesheim as soon as possible. It is seeking to find roles of the 134 employees, 21 of them temporary, within its other sites in the Rhine-Main area at Höchst, Fechenheim and Wiesbaden. Sister company Allessa will also close its hydrogenation facility at the site and had it back in July. Its 37 employees have already been redeployed

The company said that, unlike at other sites, it has borne the infrastructure costs alone, making Griesheim about three times more expensive to run as a proportion of sales than the others. “For years, adding value at the Griesheim location has not been enough to cover the disproportionately high infrastructure costs. The result is sustained losses,” said Rafael Reiser, managing director of WeylChem Griesheim, the subsidiary founded in 2017 to run the site.

WeylChem had invested about €20 million at the site over the past five years, 30% of it on a steam generation plant that can be operated with both white powder from biomass and natural gas or brown coal dust. It also relocated a laboratory there from Fechenheim and increased utilisation rates on some lines. In recent months, the site had won some new orders. However, profitability remained elusive and a sudden and unexpected reduction in demand from a key customer forced the decision to close, the company said.

Griesheim had been in operation for 163 years and passed to Höchst in 1953, then Clariant in 1997 before being acquired by WeylChem’s owner, ICIG, in 2007. It was mainly active in multi-step custom and toll manufacturing for agrochemicals. The site was specialised in the chlorination of aromatic nuclei, fluorination via the Halex reaction, methylation and catalytic hydrogenation, among other reagions

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