GE Workers to Retire When Motor Plant Sold
Aug 12, 2004
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More than 140 General Electric Co. production employees are expected to retire when their work is moved out of Fort Wayne, IN, U.S. after the company sells its commercial a.c. motor business to Regal-Beloit Corp.

The companies announced the purchase without disclosing terms and said it is expected to close next month, following the completion of customary regulatory clearance.

The business employs about 210 at a Taylor Street plant, producing a full line of a.c. motors for pump, compressor, equipment, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning uses.

About 180 of those positions are production-related and will be eliminated; the rest will be employed at the headquarters of Regal-Beloit's a.c. motor business, which it plans to establish in Fort Wayne.

The 30 who will remain with the headquarters work in marketing, sales, customer service, engineering, and management.

Regal-Beloit hasn't decided when the changes will take place or where it will move the production. However, Debbie Wexler, a GE spokeswoman, said commercial a.c. motor production will continue at the Taylor Street plant through a supplier agreement for Regal-Beloit until it has decided where to move the work.

"The duration of that supply agreement has not been established, but we would expect this would go into 2005," she said.

When the 180 production positions are eliminated, "we would expect 80 to 90 percent of those employees would take one of GE's retirement options," Ms. Wexler said. "Beyond that, we would see with normal attrition and multiple operations on the Fort Wayne campus, it is possible there would be other placement opportunities available for the balance of the employees."

GE employs about 1,000 in Fort Wayne. Most of its local work force -- about 800 -- is employed by its motors and controls business. The rest are employed by its Specialty Transformer and GE Supply electrical distribution equipment business and by GE Medical Protective, a medical malpractice insurer.

James Packard, chairman and chief executive officer for Regal-Beloit, said in a statement that the acquisition would provide it with manufacturing operations in Mexico and engineering expertise at a GE business center in India. The acquired business "will add approximately $130 million in sales to the company and be financed through our existing credit facilities," he said. (Fort Wayne News Sentinel)

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