Buckeye Technologies Inc. announced that it is shutting down a plant in Brazil for the month of December and eliminating one shift at its Memphis cotton specialty fibers plant, according to the Memphis Business Journal. The company is laying off 17 employees at the Memphis plant effective Dec. 30 due to the shift reduction, said a company spokesman. No cuts are expected at the Brazil plant. The company reported their markets with weak demand include nitrates, plastics, paper and LCD grades. There was no indication if or when the shift at the Memphis plant would be re-instituted. The loss of the shift will put operating capacity at “about two-thirds” . The company expects to restart the Americana cotton specialty fibers plant in Brazil in early 2009. Both facilities have been hampered by raw material constraints the last two years. Memphis-based Buckeye Technologies Inc. manufacturers and markets specialty fibers and non-woven materials used in such products as disposable diapers, wipes, food pads, sausage casings, automotive filters and other specialty cellulose and absorbent products. The company employs 325 people in Memphis.