The latest sign of the impact of the current economic downturn came in mid-August 2009 with the news that Metso was to start negotiations on permanent employee reductions and temporary lay-offs in the Finnish operations of its Automation business line. Scope of the talks included the entire workforce of the Flow Control business unit―essentially Metso's valve business―and the Automation business line's shared administration and support functions. The Process Automation Systems negotiations primarily targeted staff working in the paper and pulp industry function in Finland and were expected to result in the loss of between 120 and 160 staff from a total work force of some 1,400. Metso is also looking to lay off between 90 and 150 staff on a temporary basis. Metso had announced in February of this year that it was looking to cut between 900 and 1,200 jobs in units serving the pulp and paper industry in Finland.
The company says that the primary reason for the adjustment is reduced demand resulting from a permanent structural change in the paper and pulp industry, as well as delayed investments by energy industry customers in virtually every market area. Although a strong order backlog had helped maintain the workload in the Flow Control business, the weak level of new orders during the first half of the year has now significantly reduced the workload. Metso's Automation business line employs about 3,700 people in 40 countries worldwide.