HARTVILLE, Ohio (April 3, 2009)—Trelleborg A.B.'s industrial tire plant in Hartville is closing in on its last days.
The 71-year-old former Monarch Industrial Tire Co. facility, which the company purchased in the early 1990s and renamed Trelleborg Wheel Systems S.p.A., will close by mid-May when the last of its tire production operation will be transferred to the firm's two factories in Sri Lanka, according to Ydo Doornbos, managing director of Trelleborg's North American business.
Capacity at the facility was estimated at about 750,000 units a year.
About 90 employees at the plant will be laid off because of the closure, which was announced in late 2006 to allow workers ample time to find new jobs elsewhere, he said.
Trelleborg Wheel Systems' headquarters will remain in Hartville, Doornbos said, but the factory was leased, and he did not know what its status will be once it's shut down. He said Trelleborg will continue to have sales, distribution and technical service at the site.
The company's two factories in Sri Lanka are located in Kelaniya and Biyagama, where about 900 are employed.
“We've been adding on to them since we made the announcement in 2006 that the Hartville plant would close,” Doornbos said. “We've had a lot of infrastructure development at the plants.”
He said the firm has been operating out of the factories for many years. The firm put the cost to expand those facilities at about $4 million.
Doornbos said it was difficult for Trelleborg to make the decision to shut the plant and lay off workers, but it really had no choice at the time.
“And right now, with the economy the way it is, it's an even tougher decision,” he said.
When it made the original closure announcement, the company said it was investing about $19 million in phasing out and transferring the Hartville factory's production capacity to the Sri Lanka sites. It said it expected to save about $5 million annually on the move.