Lubrizol Closing British Plant


Lubrizol Corp. announced Monday that it will close its manufacturing plant in Bromborough, England, within two years in a cost-trimming measure. The plant employs 69 people, some of whom will be offered jobs elsewhere.

The Bromborough plant makes engine oil additives, as well as fuel additives and specialty monomers. Lubrizol, which is based in Wickliffe, Ohio, stated those operations will be transferred to facilities in France and Texas with higher capacity. Management said the change will save the company $10 million per year, beginning in 2007, although the plan also entails a variety of one-time expenses.

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The company will pay out $15 million for severance and other closure costs over the next two years. It will also incur a non-cash, pre-tax restructuring charge of approximately $17 million in the fourth quarter of 2004 for impairment of property, plant and equipment. Finally, officials said the company will invest $20 million in 2005 and 2006 to expand capacity at plants that will take over operations now conducted in Bromborough.

This move is consistent with Lubrizols strategy of optimizing our manufacturing infrastructure to lower our cost structure while simultaneously improving our service capabilities for valued customers, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James L. Hambrick said.

Lubrizol, which has 7,700 employees worldwide, said it will begin cutting back operations in Bromborough in the second quarter of this year but will not completely close the plant until late 2006.

The company has operated the plant since 1963. In the first quarter of 2003, it underwent a restructuring that eliminated approximately 40 jobs. Lubrizol commended employees for efforts made since then to make the plant viable.

They really worked hard to try to find opportunities and niches where they could help the company, spokesman James S. Baldwin said. It became obvious, though, that the plant just could not be cost-effective.

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