The outside of the BASF Zachary manufacturing plant. (photo courtesy Google Maps)

German chemical giant BASF will shut down its Zachary manufacturing plant in April, a move that will affect 54 workers, the company said.

BASF acquired the site from Novolyte Technologies in 2012. Despite making “significant capital investment” in the facility, the company decided to close the plant, said Blythe Lamonica, southeast region communications manager for BASF.

The company announced the move internally last year, Lamonica said. The company said it is working to find employees jobs at other BASF sites, including its largest North American facility in Geismar.

The plant will shut down in April, and some employees will stay on to decommission the facility, which should be completed by the end of the year.

“The tough decision to close Zachary was not taken lightly,” Lamonica said. “With the changing needs of customers, evolving market dynamics, and increased competitive pressures, it proved too challenging to maintain sustainable profitable operations. We are very grateful to the team at Zachary for their dedication and commitment to producing quality products for more than 50 years.”

The Zachary plant had three production units, making glycol ethers/glycol diethers, which are used in pharmaceuticals, electronics, agro chemicals and cosmetics; specialty solvents used in pharmaceuticals and industrial coatings; and electrolytes, used in batteries.

BASF acquired Novolyte Technologies, then owned by a private equity firm, in 2012 for an undisclosed price. That included the Zachary plant along with operations in China. 

Half of the employees have received a BASF job offer so far, Lamonica said, while some have left the company. 

The move will be the second time a manufacturing facility shuts down in Zachary this year. Georgia-Pacific, the Atlanta-based paper company owned by Koch Industries, said last week it will lay off 650 workers as it shuts down the business paper division of its Port Hudson paper mill. That partial closure, leaving the plant with about 300 workers making paper towels and toilet tissue, will also take place this spring. 

BASF said it will still have more than 1,600 employees and contractors among its three other Louisiana sites in Geismar, north Geismar and Vidalia.

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