The company is in the process of selling off assets to help bring down debt that early last year topped €2.1 billion. Under the terms of its new refinancing an existing credit line of €970 million has been maintained, and another of €738 million has been taken out, secured by the company's assets.
In October, the company's chairman and chief executive Jean-Pierre Tirouflet quit the group. He had been in conflict with minority shareholders who blamed him for failing to improve the performance of the company following its split with Rhone-Poulenc, which merged with the German company Hoechst to form the pharmaceutical group Aventis.
Since the beginning of last year Rhodia has been involved in re-aligning its portfolio and shaking up the company structure in an attempt to boost its slipping sales. The company also opened a new research lab in Bordeaux last September in conjunction with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) to boost innovation.
In December Rhodia announced 572 job cuts in its French operations as part of its ongoing drive to improve its finances. The move followed a difficult financial period for the company which posted a first-half loss of €150 million with little improvement expected in the 2003 year end figures.
This year Rhodia hopes to raise €700 million from the sale of various businesses, rumoured to include its silicon, phosphate and some food additive product lines.