About 150 jobs are to be axed at the Bradford plant of speciality chemicals company Ciba, following its recent takeover by BASF, the world’s largest chemicals group.

But the long-term future of the Low Moor plant appears secure as BASF wants it to become the global centre for water treatment chemicals.

Talks about the job losses move are taking place with employee representatives at the site, where about 830 people work.

The cuts will affect about 50 staff in the research department which is being transferred to BASF’s base in Germany as well as some production and administrative areas.

Originally Allied Colloids, the Low Moor site employed 2,000 people when that company was taken over by Ciba Speciality Chemicals in 1998 for £1.42 billion.

A BASF spokesman said that, in spite of the changes, the Bradford plant would remain a major manufacturing site.

As well as becoming the centre for water treatment chemicals, it will make products for its pigments and care products divisions.

BASF is developing a strategy for Ciba’s water treatment business, most of which will be integrated into the BASF Performance Chemicals division as part of a strategy to be developed by 2010.

The Bradford job cuts should be completed by the end of next year.

The site director, Mike MacFarlane is leaving Bradford to return to the United States where he previously worked for Ciba. He will be replaced by another senior UK-based Ciba executive, Alan Dinery.

There have been concerns about the future of one of Bradford’s few remaining sizeable manufacturing sites since BASF started the review of its newly-acquired business, formerly its key rival, following the Ciba take-over in April.

BASF announced earlier this week that the integration of Ciba would involve extensive restructuring and 3,700 job losses by 2013.

The measures are designed to generate savings of more than £250 million by the end of 2010 and are expected to save about £340 million a year from 2012.

BASF is considering whether to restructure, sell or close 23 of the 55 former Ciba production sites worldwide with decisions due to be announced in the first quarter of 2010.

BASF said it aims to implement restructuring measures in a socially responsible manner and has begun talks with local employee representatives.

e-mail: chris.holland@telegraphandargus.co.uk