Sullair to close Montbrison compressor plant in France

By Murray Pollok12 February 2010

Sullair Corporation plans to close its portable compressor and pneumatic tool factory in Montbrison, France later this year. Workers at the site are currently on strike as discussions with Sullair continue.

The management team at Montbrison had proposed keeping the facility open and acting as a sub-contractor to Sullair, but the parent company has rejected this proposal. The facility employs around 112 people.

Christine Baudelaire, a spokesperson for Sullair Europe, told IRN that Sullair was investigating establishing a sub-contractor in France to carry out customisation and finishing of imported products (such as painting).

She said Sullair has rejected the most recent proposal by Montbrison management for the facility to operate as a sub-contractor for full assembly or production of compressors. The next meeting between Sullair management and the Montbrison works council is scheduled for next week.

Production of portable compressors would be switched to Sullair's existing facilities in the US, China and Australia. Pneumatic tools are currently produced by a sub-contractor in Europe and this arrangement will continue.

The closure proposal was first announced in early January, when Sullair's president, Henry F Brooks, presented a restructuring plan that would see the closure of Montbrison in the third quarter of 2010.

Mr Brooks is reported to have said that the reason for the closure is the 30-40% decline in the company's orders last year and projections that sustainable volumes will only be reached again in 2012.

Sullair has manufacturing facilities in the US, Australia and China, as well as Montbrison. Sullair is a subsidiary of Hamilton Sundstrand and part of the massive United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

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