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Exide to idle lead recycling operations, lay off 150

By: Shawn Wright

November 12, 2012

MILTON, GA. (Nov. 12, 12:45 p.m. ET) — Battery manufacturer Exide Technologies recently announced it will idle its lead recycling operations in Reading, Pa., and lay off 150 workers by March 31.

“Idling” means Milton-based Exide will maintain the Reading facilities, permits and approvals necessary for recycling activities in case the company wants to reopen it later, according to a news release.

The plant recycles used lead batteries and reuses the material to make new ones.

“This decision was based on several factors, including the dramatic swings in the lead market and the high capital investment needed, due to regulatory requirements, to remain operational in Reading,” Paul Hirt, president of Exide Americas, said in a statement. “By idling this facility, we can defer spending the capital while still having the majority of our internal lead demands met through our other three recycling centers in Vernon, Calif., Canon Hollow, Mo., and Muncie, Ind.”

The company will meet with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection within the next few weeks to discuss steps needed to implement the idling.

Exide said the plant, which has been operational since the 1930s, will continue to operate its plastics recycling business.