Albemarle Corp. to lay off 230 workers

Albemarle Corp., of Baton Rouge, will lay off 230 workers worldwide as part of the company’s restructuring to place more emphasis on research and development.

The layoffs will chop between $30 million and $35 million pre-tax from the specialty chemical maker’s fourth-quarter earnings, the company said. Albemarle’s earnings before the special charge will fall in the range of $83 million to $88 million, or $1.02 to $1.07 per share.

The restructuring of the company’s workforce involves moving from three global business units to two, as well as putting more resources into research and development, business development and sales to spur growth.

Stock analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast fourth-quarter earnings of $1.21 per share.

The company’s 2013 per-share earnings will be in the $4 to $4.05 range.

The fourth-quarter results reflect “more cautious inventory management” by customers of Albemarle’s flame retardants and other major product lines, President and Chief Executive Officer Luke Kissam said.

“We have experienced a slower than expected quarter due to weaker than expected demand for flame retardants and more cautious working capital management by customers across a number of our critical product lines,” Kissam said.

The company will release earnings on Jan. 28.