Some updates today on several fronts regarding Bekaert and its operations in Rome and other parts of the country.
Rome update: “… the job reduction in Rome (50 people) has not been completed. It will be phased, aligned with the move of hose wire reinforcement activities to Rogers, Ark.,” says Fabian Deceuninck, corporate communications at Bekaert. As for the closing of the Shelbyville plant:
Media release from Bekaert: The management of Bekaert Group has made the decision to phase out its steel wire operations in the Shelbyville plant in Kentucky.
The Shelbyville plant is active in the production of steel wire for various applications and markets, including the construction, consumer goods and various industrial sectors. External developments in demand and pricing trends have had a negative impact on the profitability and competitive position of Bekaert Shelbyville over the past years, calling for a realignment of our steel wire solutions activities in the country.
Following the decision to cease the steel wire manufacturing activities in our production plant in Shelbyville, some product lines will be moved to the Bekaert plants in Van Buren (Arkansas) and Orrville (Ohio), while others will be stopped or sourced and distributed through alternative channels. The Dramix production line serving concrete reinforcement markets will remain in Shelbyville until a permanent location is determined.
Bekaert intends to phase out the steel wire production in the Shelbyville plant by January 2020 and in the meantime, will extend its manufacturing operations in Van Buren and Orrville with the respective technology and expertise.
This decision will affect approximately 100 employees. The Management regrets the need to implement this measure but sees no other option to safeguard a long-term competitive position of its steel wire activities in North America.
FROM NOV. 15
Bekaert, the Belgium company with a major plant in Rome, is laying off 100 workers on Jan. 13 at its Shelbyville, Ky., plant with plans to close it by late 2020, according to television station WDRB. A “skeleton crew of 12 employees” will remain there throughout 2020, the report says.
Five years ago next week, the Rome plant was hit by a crippling fire that idled some 220 people who worked there. Bekaert quickly announced it would rebuild and even upped the reinvestment to $16 million. The following October, the company reported:
“The Bekaert bead wire plant in Rome had been temporarily shut down after a fire caused structural damage to the site on Nov. 19, 2014. All reconstruction works were finalized in June 2015 and the plant has been equipped with state-of-the-art, high-performance bead wire production lines. Extensive test runs and approval procedures have taken place in the past months and all tire makers have qualified Bekaert Rome’s production from the new bead wire lines.”
In September, the Rome News-Tribune reported as many as 50 employees would be leaving local employment, including buyouts of some veteran staffers. Later reports show part of the Rome plant was idled rather than invested even more to upgrade older equipment.