Benteler Automotive Corp., a subsidiary of Germanys
Benteler Group, plans to close its Grand Rapids, Mich., factory
by the end of March 2014 as part of a global restructuring of
The facility produces
structural vehicle components such as door beam supports and
"The reason for
closing is entirely strategic," company spokeswoman Maryam
Komejan told AMM June 21.
"It is our oldest
plant (in North America), not as flexible for our needs and
also underutilized. We are consolidating those operations into
Kalamazoo, Mich., and Goshen, Ind.," she continued, with the
bulk of the roll-forming, stamping and related equipment
relocating to Kalamazoo.
"It is not a
downsizing but a restructuring of facilities to make better use
of our space across our North American operations. This is not
a situation of declining revenue," but a redistribution of
assets, Komejan said. "The other plants have space for (Grand
Rapids) equipment and a better process flow" in which to
She couldnt say
how many steel-formed parts the Grand Rapids plant makes
The factory employs
about 220 workers. They will have an opportunity to accept job
openings at other plants in western Michigan, including
Kalamazoo and Holland.
"In some cases, it is
a bit far (from Grand Rapids) but workers can apply to openings
that fit their skills. There is plenty of time for us to help
as many of our workers as possible to get jobs inside the
company or outside the company," Komejan said.
"We are growing, but
this plant was not functional. (The closure) is part of a
larger restructuring going on globally," she said.
Benteler said in May
that it would eliminate up to five plants around the world,
cutting 1,800 jobs, and has begun a process to close a facility
in Opelika, Ala. Roughly 100 workers will be affected
Some other North
American plants have been expanded, and Benteler is prepared to
seize on growth opportunities, including greenfield sites as
required, Komejan said.
companys Steel/Tube unit recently forecast rising volumes
and market potential in U.S. energy exploration. It said last
October it would build a seamless tube mill near Shreveport,
amm.com, Oct. 26).