TRELLEBORG, Sweden—Trelleborg A.B. will close its industrial tire plant in Hartville, Ohio, over the coming three years and consolidate production at factories it operates in Sri Lanka.
Trelleborg, which bought the former Monarch Industrial Tire Co. in Hartville 15 years ago, said it will invest $19 million in phasing out and transferring the Ohio plant´s production capacity to Sri Lanka.
Trelleborg Wheel Systems S.p.A. President Maurizio Vischi said the change "enables us to remain competitive and grow the business organically. The measures will improve our profitability and position in the North American market, where we are also building an efficient sales and distribution organization."
Closing the 69-year-old Hartville plant will affect about 115 production workers, Trelleborg said. Production will be transferred successively throughout 2008, with manufacturing to cease in Ohio by the first quarter of 2009, Trelleborg said. Capacity at Hartville is listed as 750,000 units a year.
Trelleborg emphasized it will continue to have resources in sales, technical service and distribution in North America.
Trelleborg Wheel Systems, a business unit of diversified Trelleborg A.B., operates tire plants in Kelaniya and Biyagama, Sri Lanka, with approximately 900 employees.
It will spend about $4 million at those plants to accommodate the increased production.
"We have conducted business successfully in Sri Lanka for many years, and with this investment, we are improving the operations further," Vischi said.
"The investment in extended production capacity will involve upgraded production and enhanced efficiency, and we expect to handle the additional volume within the framework of the current work force," he said. "We have an excellent skills base in place and another benefit is that Sri Lanka has a first-rate location with proximity to good supplies of raw materials."
Trelleborg said over time it expects the move to save it about $5 million a year in expenses.