The US-based company Dow Chemical will be relocating its German headquarters from Schwalbach am Taunus to its location in Wiesbaden. Operated as a joint venture with Corning since 1983, the Wiesbaden site was fully acquired by Dow last year, explained Willem Huisman, president of operations in Germany, on Thursday. The Dow plant situated on the bank of the Rhine in the Wiesbaden district of Schierstein produces specialized silicones, adhesives, and lubricants. Because this plant is now fully owned by Dow, it makes sense from a business perspective to pool all of the company’s resources at one single location, emphasized Huisman.
Wiesbaden was selected as the preferred location because the plant there is now under Dow’s complete ownership, as opposed to the rented premises of the former German headquarters in Schwalbach. According to Huisman, there are currently 340 employees working at the Wiesbaden site, of which approximately 200 work in production and 40 in research and development.
“Not thrilled” about import tariffs
Three administrative buildings are set to be remodeled and expanded and one new one is set to be constructed. This will provide space for 220 new office workstations designed to accommodate the employees transferring from Schwalbach. It takes just over half an hour to drive from one location to the other. The Schwalbach based employees are scheduled to transfer to Wiesbaden in the second half of the year, after which the Wiesbaden site on Rheingaustraße will host a total of 560 employees.
Dow’s approximate 5,000 employees spread across 16 locations in Germany generated revenue of just under $3 billion last year. “We are very eager to grow,” announced Huisman on Thursday. Germany is Dow’s second largest production location and sales market. The corporation employs around 56,000 people worldwide. In late 2016, Dow announced its intention to merge with its American competitor Dupont to create the largest chemical company in the world. “This would make us even bigger than BASF,” remarked Huisman on Thursday. He pointed out however that the merger has not yet been approved.
When asked about the significance of the changing of the guard in the White House, Huisman said that the new president’s announcement of plans to boost the economy and create jobs is an encouraging sign. On the flipside, however, Dow “is not at all thrilled” about the import tariffs set to be imposed. Huisman indicated that he would prefer not share his opinion about the style in which Donald Trump otherwise conducts himself.
New bus connection
Huisman reported that Dow’s chairman of the board of directors Andrew Liveris currently belongs to a committee that advises the presidents on economic policy issues. He was also part of this committee during Barack Obama’s presidency. “We’re getting close,” said Huisman. The objective is to effectively communicate the industry’s interests to the president. The manager discussed this objective in a press conference at Wiesbaden city hall after being invited to do so by Wiesbaden’s chief mayor Sven Gerich (SPD) and director of economic development Detlev Bendel (CDU). “This is a fine day for Wiesbaden,” exulted the Social Democrat.
A decision by Dow to continue to conduct and expand its research and development activities in Schierstein would provide outstanding long term benefits to the city of Wiesbaden. Gerich remarked that Dow elected to relocate its headquarters from Schwalbach to Wiesbaden despite Wiesbaden’s higher business taxes. The tax factor applied by Wiesbaden is 454 percent compared to the 350 percent applied by Schwalbach. Huisman and Bendel reported that the city of Wiesbaden has been very accommodating to Dow with regard to infrastructure related issues and other matters. For example, the local public transportation company has created a new bus connection designed to allow better access to the company’s site using local public transportation.