Leading Latin American panel maker Masisa SA has introduced cost cutting measures in response to the global economic crisis, including layoffs in Chile and a reduction in group investment plans for 2009.
The company, with 13 panel production plants in Mexico and South America, revealed in December it was making 34 Chilean executives redundant as part of a structural shakeup designed to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of its operations.
In October, Masisa confirmed it was laying off 350 workers at its sawmill in Cabrero in the face of a dramatic downturn in demand for solid wood mouldings from the construction sectors in North America and Asian countries.
In 2009, the group is committed to reducing its overall investment programme with capital spending halved in comparison with the major 2008 projects, not least its new 550,000m3/year Brazilian MDF plant in Montenegro set to launch in May this year.
Investment in the coming year is likely to be around US$90m, Masisa chief executive Enrique Cibié told the Chilean financial paper Estrategia.
Masisa’s shareholders agreed in December to increase its capital by US$100m but the funds were earmarked to pay off group financial liabilities; Mr Cibié was quoted as saying. He forecast the company faces “a difficult year” but that its markets may recover in 2010.