Officials of the Timken Co. said Monday they could not say what impact the closing of Canton, Ohio bearing operations would have on the Lincolnton plant.
Spokesman Jason Sergian said the company would keep 80 percent of the plantâ€™s work in the U.S., but no decision has been made as to where it would go.
â€œIn terms of narrowing down the location,, we donâ€™t have any specificity,â€ he said.
Sergian said it would be awhile before the company would know.
â€œIt will take two years to close the plant,â€ he said.
Current employment at the three Canton bearing plants is 1,300 people. Timken employs 4,800 in Stark County, Ohio and approximately 26,000 worldwide. The Lincolnton plant employs around 600.
The Canton based steel operations are unaffected by this decision.
â€œWe have been meeting with the union for more than eight months to discuss how to make our bearing operations competitive in our changing global marketplace,â€ said James W. Griffith, president and CEO. â€œWe are disappointed that our talks with the union did not lead to the changes necessary to make these facilities viable. Therefore, we will begin moving the products to plants where they can be manufactured competitively.â€
â€œWe continue to take a close look at our manufacturing network to create focused factories that are globally competitive and better serve our customers,â€ said Mr. Griffith. â€œThe acquisition of The Torrington Company has been provided more options that allow us to produce these products competitively. We expect no disruption of supply during this transition.â€
The company will now meet with the union about this decision. More specific information will not be available until after those discussions, including: the timing of the closure, the impact of employment and the magnitude of the savings and charges for restructuring and implementation, which could be material.
In Sept. 2003, the company began a series of meetings with the union and associates in the Canton bearing operations to discuss what needed to be done to make the plants competitive. At that time, the company made it clear that the Canton bearing operations could not continue to operate in their current form. The company indicated it was willing to make the investments necessary to create a focused, competitive operation in the Canton bearing plants if these investments were accompanied by contract modifications. Since then, the company and the union have been unable to agree on the necessary changes.
Production at the Canton bearing plants has declined 27 percent over the last five years as the cost structure of the operations made it difficult to win new business. The plan to close the Canton bearing operations is consistent with Timkenâ€™s overall strategy to make the company more profitable., more customer-centric and better able to grow.
The Timken Company is a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered bearings and alloy steels and a provider of related products and services with operations in 27 countries. A Fortune 500 company, Timken recorded 2003 sales of 3.8 billion and employed approximately 26,000 at year-end.
by Staff Reports