MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio (Feb. 22, 2008) — Century-old Johnson Rubber Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors in December, plans to close this spring, resulting in the elimination of about 500 jobs.
Will Kohn, a partner at the Cleveland law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff L.L.P. who is representing Middlefield-based Johnson Rubber in the bankruptcy case, confirmed that Johnson Rubber officials told employees recently about the impending closing. The company has been unsuccessful in its efforts to find a buyer since the Chapter 11 filing.
The 113-year-old rubber components manufacturer has about 375 employees in Middlefield, which is in Geauga County, and about 125 people in North Baltimore, Ohio, near Toledo.
Kohn said four major Johnson Rubber customers — DTR Tennessee Inc., Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. — gave notice within the last week that they no longer will place orders with the company. Those four customers represent about 70 percent of Johnson Rubber's business, he said.
Johnson Rubber will continue to produce parts for customers to satisfy existing supply contracts, Kohn said. It's likely that production will continue through at least the end of April, he said.
The company makes rubber components found in automobiles, roads and bridges, caskets and recreational boats. It recorded $60 million in sales during 2006.