Costs associated with the restructuring of its textile effects division pushed Ciba Specialty Chemicals to a net loss of CHF256m (US$199m) in 2005.

The Swiss chemicals giant set aside CHF583m last year for restructuring its textiles unit - which produces textile dyes and chemicals - and said a final decision on its future "will be made in the next few months."

The textile division has been hit by competition in Asia, where it has to contend with cheaper local producers.

Speaking at a press conference in Zurich, chief executive Armin Meyer said a "thorough analysis" of the unit's business is a "must." However, he declined to provide any details, such as the possible closure of sites. 

The Textile Effects division posted sales of CHF1.285bn in 2005, down 1% on 2004. Strong growth was recorded in China and South East Asia.