A "YOUNG" UK chemical company has agreed to buy a major North-East plant from industry company BASF.

No jobs will be lost if the deal for Ineos Nitriles to buy the Seal Sands site, in Teesside, gains European Commission approval.

The companies have made an agreement not to disclose the price of the deal.

German-based BASF, the world's largest chemical company, has about 240 employees at its Acrylonitrile plant, with a further 250 people employed by contractors.

The two companies produce similar products, meaning workers at the plant will require little or no retraining.

The employment of BASF personnel at the site will be transferred to Ineos, which will also take over the existing contracts, supply and service arrangements for which the contractors are employed.

Rob Nevin, Ineos's chief executive, said: "The purchase of BASF's Seal Sands manufacturing site is a natural development for Ineos Nitriles and supports our long-term strategy.

"We have a strong commitment to our customers and this acquisition will support their plans for growth."

Ineos communications manager Richard Longden said: "It has been an exciting time for Ineos.

"We have made an agreement to purchase the site subject to the European Commission.

"This is going to be a core part of the business. It is going to be an important site for us - it is good news for the employees."

Ineos, which was formed in 1998 and describes itself as a "young" company, has become the world's third largest chemical company, with sales approaching $45bn.

It has 76 manufacturing sites in 20 countries and employs 16,600 people.

Last month, it received clearance from the European Commission to buy BP's Acetate Business, which included the Saltend manufacturing site, near Hull, along with the 150km Teesside to Saltend Ethylene Pipeline.

Mr Longden said: "We are a UK privately-owned chemical business.

Since 1998, we have grown our business through successful acquisition of sites like Seal Sands and have bought businesses from companies including BP and ICI."

Bernd Brian, BASF site director at Seal Sands, said: "I am confident that the integration of this site and its workforce into Ineos Nitriles, a company committed to a long-term participation in the acrylonitrile business, will be the best guarantee of continued future success for the site."

The Seal Sands site produces substances used in the production of clothing and carpets, as well as plastics for the car industry and companies producing domestic appliances.

Ineos already has a smaller plant at the Seal Sands site, run by BASF. It will return to direct Ineos control if the deal goes through. BASF will retain two plants on the site.