The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 2, 2012

Hydro Wells to shut down some Monett operations

140 jobs to be cut

MONETT, Mo. — Hydro Aluminum has announced plans to close part of its operations in Monett, which will eliminate 140 jobs locally by October, out of approximately 200 at the site.

The Norwegian company, which specializes in supplying aluminum, made its announcement Wednesday, saying it is “making adjustments to the structure of its aluminum extrusion network in the United States.”

The Monett-based plant was built in 1964 and was known as Wells Aluminum before it was acquired by Hydro in 2000.

“Profitability at the extrusion site has been an issue for many years, despite internal improvements, and demand in its key market segment — building and construction — has been soft and remains uncertain,” a statement announcing the closing indicated.

The Monett plant has two extrusion presses in addition to painting operations and an aluminum casthouse in Monett, with 60 employees.

Kevin Widlic said the casthouse makes aluminum logs that are then heated and processed into various shapes for customers in a wide range of industries by the extrusion operations.

Plant Manager Bob Sharpe in Monett said aluminum for windows and doors for residential customers was “our number one market,” and as home construction and remodeling have slowed, that part of the business has been hurt. The growth of vinyl windows also has cut into the aluminum business, he said.

Matthew Dionne, president of Hydro’s North American aluminum extrusion business, said in a statement that Hydro Aluminum looked at the possibility of divestment of the plant before deciding to close its extrusion and fabrication lines.

“Demand in the U.S. market has picked up this year, but we are still challenged by overcapacity in our industry. It is unlikely that the Monett plant could perform in a sustainable manner moving forward,” Dionne said in a statement. “The casthouse will remain part of our service portfolio as a supplier of quality metal.”

Three years ago, the company consolidated its extrusion operations from nearby Cassville to the Monett site.

Meanwhile, at its plant in Phoenix, Ariz., the company has added 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space dedicated to fabrication, including machining and product assembly, and has doubled its number of engineers for customer and operational support.

Dionne said: “Our intention is to create an integrated fabrication center of excellence in Phoenix for the years to come.”

Hydro portfolio

Hydro employs more than 200 people in Phoenix, and also has numerous other operations around the United States. The company also has operations in 39 other countries and employ 23,000 people worldwide.

 

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