BASF shrinks construction chem unit on weak Europe

FRANKFURT, Oct 4 (Reuters) - BASF the world's largest chemicals maker, will cut costs at its construction chemicals unit and sell a Swiss business due to a decline in demand from Southern Europe and Britain, the company said on Thursday.

Cutbacks at its sales organisation and some production sites in Southern Europe and Britain will affect about 400 jobs, but BASF added it aimed to offer employees other positions within the group wherever possible.

"After the burst of the real estate bubble, construction activity in Portugal and Spain has plummeted below 50 percent of the pre-crisis level and continues to decline," BASF said in a statement.

"Investment into construction projects in Greece has shrunk to less than 60 percent of its former volume also due to the public debt crisis. In Italy, construction shows weakness over the course of 2012," it added.

BASF is planning to divest the Winterthur, Switzerland-based MEYCO Equipment business, which makes concrete spraying machines for tunneling and mining.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger)

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