Polymer Group, Inc. has announced a plan to close its fourth U.S. plant in three years. The nonwovens producer will close its North Little Rock, AR facility by early next year and consolidate certain manufacturing operations in its Benson, NC plant.
The company plans to phase out operations of its North Little Rock facility by the end of March 2010 and relocate portions of its hydroentanglement and fusible fiber businesses to increase efficiency, reduce costs and maintain its high quality levels. These activities will involve upgrading the capabilities of both the hydroentanglement and fusible fiber manufacturing bases at PGI in order to meet developing market needs through capitalization of in-house intellectual properties.
“PGI’s focus on leading market positions and global growth requires a constant assessment of our capabilities compared to the market needs,” said Veronica Hagen, chief executive officer. “As certain market segments for carded technologies increasingly become commoditized or transition to more cost-effective technologies, we must constantly streamline business operations and enhance our capabilities to maintain competitiveness. As a result of these activities, we will be upgrading our overall asset base to better meet market needs.”
The North Little Rock plant was built and opened in 1956. It became part of PGI in 1995 when the company acquired the Chicopee business from Johnson & Johnson. PGI will continue to operate seven plants in the U.S. Other locations include Benson and Mooresville, NC, Waynesboro, VA, Kingman, KS, Clearfield, UT; Guntown, MS and Clackamas, OR.
In early 2007, PGI announced it would close plants in Rogers, AR and Gainesville, GA; in June 2008 is said it would close its Landisville, NJ, where it made carded thermal bond and chemical bond products for the hygiene and medical industries.
The most recent closure is expect to incur charges of $10-11 million through the first quarter of fiscal 2010 but will eventually save $10-11 million in annual manufacturing costs.