MEDINA, NY - Steel processor and pressurized cylinder company Worthington Industries plans to shut down its BernzOmatic plant in Medina, Orleans County, over the next year, eliminating 174 positions there.
Ohio-based Worthington said Friday it was moving the hand-held torch manufacturing work done there to a plant in Wisconsin where the company already makes fuel cylinders for BernzOmatic gear.
According to Worthington, the move lets it use available capacity at the Wisconsin site and also cut shipping costs.
The Medina plant is expected to close by mid 2014.
BernzOmatic makes hand-held torches used for soldering, welding and brazing. Worthington bought it in 2011 from a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc. At the time, Worthington said the BernzOmatic acquisition brought it a broader product mix and gave it an entry into the plumbing wholesale market.
Meanwhile, Worthington, which has been on a company-wide push since 2008 to substantially cut costs, started focusing on its pressurized cylinder business - of which BernzOmatic is part - in fiscal year 2012, according to its most-recent annual report.
In a statement, Worthington CEO John McConnell said, "As the transformation efforts continue across our company, we are committed to identifying cost savings opportunities and increasing efficiencies. The consolidation of these facilities is an outcome of this work. Decisions that result in displacing employees are difficult, and are approached respectfully, with financial support and help in finding new employment."
Worthington said Orleans County workers would be eligible to transfer to the Wisconsin site, and that it also plans to offer severance and outplacement services.
Worthington spokeswoman Sonya L. Higginbotham said the move does not involve any changes to the BernzOmatic brand. "We're proud of the fact the BernzOmatic hand torch will continue to be made in the United States," she said.
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