ISELIN, N.J.—Ansell Ltd. has launched a major global restructuring program—which includes the eventual closure of its U.S. Hawkeye military glove operation along with a factory in Malaysia—aimed at creating a more efficient and profitable business.
Included in the plan is relocation of its condom headquarters from Australia to Brussels; closure of its Shah Alam, Malaysia, medical goods production plant and moving capacity to lower-cost facilities in Sri Lanka and southern Malaysia; and trimming 30 brands, 100 products and 20 legal entities.
That will lead to the elimination of 250 manufacturing jobs and 50 middle and senior supervisory positions in the next 12 months.
Ansell's decision to exit the Hawkeye military glove manufacturing business is in the works because of decreased demand in the U.S. for the specialty gloves produced at the company's facility in Eupora, Miss., a spokesman said.
He said the pullback of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq was a prime reason for the drop in demand.
Timing of the exit wasn't disclosed because the firm is evaluating its options with its partners, according to the spokesman. Details on the exit are expected to be finalized by the first half of fiscal 2015.
“There is additional complexity in that we have responsibilities to implement the current military contracts we have in place, which will certainly happen,” he said.
Ansell's factory in Eupora continues to be operational as the firm reviews its options, the spokesman noted. “At a certain point, once the final decision is made in the future, a determination will be made on the Hawkeye facility. Until then, it is business as usual.”
Ansell supplies military organizations in other countries from factories it operates in Southeast Asia.
While the company is eliminating the military unit in the U.S., it has expanded its North American business with the purchase earlier this year of glove maker Lake Forest, Ill.-based BarrierSafe Solutions International, for $615 million, which plays a big role in reshaping Ansell's North American operation.