Strike at SABIC Dutch plant hits output

Updated 02 February 2013
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Strike at SABIC Dutch plant hits output

ALKHOBAR: A strike by workers at the SABIC Europe Chemicals Geleen plant in the Netherlands has cut production, the company’s Saudi Arabian owner said yesterday.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) said in a bourse statement that talks with a union over working conditions had not yet been successful and that it did not know what impact the strike would have on profits or production.
“The decrease in production began 31/1/2013 due to the proactive measure taken by the union work force as a consequence of no finalized agreement regarding work conditions,” it said in the statement.
In Geleen, SABIC has two naphtha crackers and several polymerization plants to produce polyethylene and polypropylene. Galeen produces 1.25 million tons per year of ethylene, 725,000 tons per year of propylene, 940,000 tons per year of polyethylene, and 620,000 tons per year of polypropylene.
“It is not possible to determine the financial effect or the effect on production capacity, at this time, because the affected plants are not yet known,” SABIC added in the statement.
A SABIC spokesman in Europe said the disagreement was over payments to staff who might become redundant.
De Unie, one of the unions involved in the strike action, said SABIC wanted to cut back sharply on the support offered to laid-off workers to help them find new jobs.


French state-owned bank drops plan to aid trade with Iran

Updated 24 September 2018
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French state-owned bank drops plan to aid trade with Iran

  • US-imposed sanctions sanctions iare making trade with Iran increasingly difficult for European companies - such as Volvo
  • US is renewing sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a nuclear deal forged in 2015 between Tehran and world powers

PARIS: French state-owned bank Bpifrance has abandoned its plan to set up a mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran, in the face of US sanctions against Tehran.
Earlier this year, the bank had said it was working on a project to finance French companies that wished to export goods to Iran despite US sanctions.
“It’s put on hold,” said Nicolas Dufourcq, Bpifrance’s chief executive. “Conditions are not met (...) Sanctions are punitive for companies.”
Bpifrance was working on establishing euro-denominated export guarantees to Iranian buyers of French goods and services. By structuring the financing through vehicles without any US link, Bpifrance thought it was possible to avoid the extraterritorial reach of US legislation.
Dufourcq’s latest comments show how the scope of the sanctions is making trade with Iran increasingly difficult for European companies.

Swedish truckmaker Volvo has been forced to stop assembling trucks in Iran as it can no longer get paid with US sanctions taking bite.
Volvo spokesman Fredrik Ivarsson said due to the sanctions Volvo could no longer get paid for any parts it shipped and therefore had taken the decision to not operate in Iran.
"With all these sanctions and everything that the United States put.. the bank system doesn't work in Iran. We can't get paid... So for now we don't have any business (in Iran)," he said.
The US is renewing sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a nuclear deal forged in 2015 between Tehran and world powers. Washington reimposed some of the financial sanctions from Aug. 6, while those affecting Iran’s petroleum sector will come into force from Nov. 4.
Even though several European countries have said they are seeking to protect their companies from the sanctions, several major companies including oil company Total, Air France-KLM and British Airways have announced they would suspend activities in Iran.
German officials have in recent weeks advocated for the creation of an independent system for cross-border payments to make trade with Iran possible even with the US sanctions.
European Union diplomats have said US President Donald Trump’s positions on trade and on Iran were fueling a rethink about the EU’s dependency on the US financial system.
However, European countries appear to be struggling to find or agree on effective options to tackle the issue.