Nolato AB will close its Texas plant and consolidate its North American operations in Illinois.
The move joins a litany of dramatic changes within a rapidly evolving mobile-communications market.
Nolato's operation in Fort Worth, Texas, employs about 50 and operates about 22 injection presses. Nolato intends to vacate the leased site in a couple of months, Per Ahlund, president of the Nolato Texas Inc. unit, said by telephone.
The board of Torokev, Sweden-based Nolato made the decision Feb. 7 "to adapt to the ever-changing telecom-manufacturing market," the company said in a news release.
Nolato began Texas molding operations in January 1999 and at one time employed 140. The Texas operations will be folded into Shieldmate Robotics Inc. in Itasca, Ill., which Nolato acquired last year. At that time, Shieldmate employed 450.
Meanwhile, Nolato's mobile-communications business will expand to China and Hungary in 2001 and into Mexico by 2002.
Nolato supplies components for mobile phone, automotive, medical technology and other industrial applications. The company employs 3,000 and has annual sales of about 3 billion Swedish kronor ($336 million).
A major Nolato customer, Telefon AB LM Ericsson, said Jan. 26 it will outsource mobile-phone production to contract manufacturer Flextronics International Ltd. in April.
Mobile-phone leader Nokia Oyj said Feb. 2 that it is cutting about 800 of 5,500 Texas jobs and shifting some manufacturing to South Korea and Mexico.
The second-largest cell-phone maker, Motorola Inc., is reducing its Harvard, Ill., plant by 2,500 workers.