Citing a sustained downturn in its Thermador oven business, evidenced by disappointing levels of new orders, BSH Home Appliances Corporation president and CEO Franz J. Bosshard announced on Friday that the company is considering the closure of its manufacturing facility in Vernon, CA, U.S.
"Consistent with our strategic initiatives announced last year, specifically product leadership and operational excellence, strengthening the Thermador product line by increasing its value to the consumer and to the company compel us to consider all options. We must improve the Thermador built-in oven business to a level of profitability commensurate with that of our other businesses," said Mr. Bosshard.
"The closure of our Vernon facility, and the transfer of Thermador oven production to other BSH manufacturing facilities in the U.S., would result in significant cost savings," he continued.
Thermador products, including ranges, cook tops, and ventilation products, are manufactured also at BSH plants in LaFollette, TN, U.S. and New Bern, NC, U.S.
In July of 2001, BSH Home Appliances Corporation announced a major expansion program aimed at increasing BSH's share of the North American home appliance market.
Those expansion plans are continuing, the company said.
"Before making a decision on the future of the Vernon plant, however, we have offered to meet with representatives of bargaining unit employees to discuss the business and the impact a decision to close the Vernon facility might have on them," Mr. Bosshard said. Discussions are expected to begin soon.
BSH acquired the Thermador Vernon plant in 1998 from Masco and has operated the plant for the past 5 years. It currently employs approximately 220 workers at the facility. Of these approximately 150 are skilled hourly workers and the remaining 70 associates are management and support staff.
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