SABIC looks at Selkirk as a consolidation point

As SABIC begins to restructure its organization, the company has announced they are considering its plant in Selkirk as a possible site for some regional consolidation.

Officials at SABIC, also known as Saudi Basic Industries Corp., said they are currently considering moving a polymer laboratory from its current location in Pittsfield, Mass., to the SABIC Innovative Plastics plant in Bethlehem, which the company bought from General Electric last year for nearly $12 billion.

The laboratory is described as a research and development site for SABIC.

However, any move is very preliminary at this point, and those involved, including town officials, are saying very little in terms of detail as a possible deal is hashed out.

There are two separate things that we're looking at, said SABIC spokeswoman Jodi Kennedy. "Were trying to reduce operational costs, and we're looking to relocate our lab and find a new site for our headquarters within Pittsfield."

Kennedy said the polymer lab could either be moved to Selkirk or to a new location in Pittsfield and that more won't be known until after the New Year.

"We probably wouldn't have more information until early 2009," Kennedy said.

SABIC decided to cut 1,000 jobs worldwide after a nine-month operational study, out of which locally about 40 positions were eliminated at the Pittsfield headquarters, as well as one position in Selkirk. The cuts are part of a restructuring plan for the company in order to meet SABIC's future growth and expansion, according to Kennedy.

Bethlehem's outgoing director of economic development, George Levielle, said town officials are talking with SABIC, but could comment on little else.

"We've been working a lot with SABIC and on their initiatives," Levielle said. "We can't publicly talk about our negotiations but it would be a very positive, positive investment for the community."

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