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Albemarle Layoffs: 300 Staff Cuts Amid Lithium Industry Price Pressure

January 29, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Albemarle layoffs will impact roughly 300 employees or approximately 4% of staff, the Information reported. The job cuts surface roughly two weeks after Albemarle CEO Kent Masters (pictured above) announced plans to cut annual company expenses by $95 million.

Albemarle, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, supplies lithium and bromine solutions to customers across the mobility, energy, connectivity and health sectors. Almost all electric vehicles (EVs) sold in North America use lithium ion batteries, Forbes notes.

The big business challenges: Prices for lithium dropped roughly 80% from the end of 2022 through the end of 2023. Moreover, demand for EV automobiles softened considerably in the second half of 2023, and Tesla in January 2024 announced a weaker-than-expected earnings projection for the year.

Related: See more energy transition layoffs listed here.

Albemarle Layoffs, Cost Cuts

Amid that backdrop, Albemarle is striving to cut business expenses. Even before the Tesla warning, Albemarle in mid-January 2024 outlined actions to "preserve growth, reduce costs and optimize cash flow." Among the steps the company took:

  • Defer investment for the Albemarle Technology Park in North Carolina. When the park buildout was announced in 2022, Albemarle predicted the site would create 200 jobs with an average salary of $94,000 per year. 
  • Limit sustaining capital spending to the most critical health, safety, environmental, and site maintenance projects.  
  • Slash costs by $95 million annually "primarily related to sales, general, and administrative expenses, including a reduction in headcount and lower spending on contracted services."

In that mid-2024 announcement, Albemarle CEO Kent Masters said: "The actions we are taking allow us to advance near-term growth and preserve future opportunities as we navigate the dynamics of our key end-markets. The long-term fundamentals for our business are strong and we remain committed to operating in a safe and sustainable manner. As a market leader, Albemarle has access to world-class resources and industry-leading technology, along with a suite of organic projects to capture growth."  

Sustainability and Green Technology Jobs: Climate Tech Training Programs

Despite anecdotal job cuts within many green-oriented technology companies, demand for green jobs in the United States has grown roughly 50% since 2019, according to Lightcast.

In response, companies such as AccentureEYGoodwill and Microsoft have launched green jobs training programs.

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