Executives of Coperion Holding GmbH are studying how to realign Coperion's holdings - Werner & Pfleiderer, Buss and Waeschle machinery - including possible layoffs, but a company official said plant closings will not be part of the restructuring.
``This is not about closings,'' said Joachim Hegermann, marketing and communications manager for the firm in Konstanz, Germany. In fact, Hegermann said Coperion could end up expanding some sites. ``We want to realign production, so everybody does what they do best,'' he said.
He did not rule out layoffs at some locations. Coperion employs about 1,930 worldwide.
Coperion on July 24 announced the new project, designed to make the company profitable and more efficient. Coperion will ``evaluate all the group's worldwide production capacities and supply chain,'' a company news release said. However, since it does not give any details, the news release raises more questions than it answers.
A trade press report from Europe said the company expects to spell out its plans by late August. But in an Aug. 19 telephone interview, Hegermann said the company had not decided when it would release details.
A big player in compounding extruders, kneaders and large resin-conveying systems, Coperion was put together in 2000 after Georg Fischer AG of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and an investor group bought Krupp Werner & Pfleiderer GmbH from Germany's Thyssen Krupp AG. Fischer already owned Buss and Waeschle.
Some U.S. streamlining already has happened, as Coperion moved Waeschle's U.S. assembly operations from Bloomingdale, Ill., into W&P's U.S. headquarters in Ramsey, N.J. W&P also moved some screw production from Ramsey to an expanded plant in Wytheville, Va. Also, the Buss U.S. headquarters and assembly operation moved to Ramsey, from Chicago.
The worldwide machinery downturn has hit Coperion, which lost money through the first half of 2002. Coperion's sales and new orders both declined 16 percent compared with the first half of 2001, according to a midyear report from Georg Fischer.
Hegermann said Coperion runs these factories: W&P in Stuttgart, Germany; W&P and Waeschle in Ramsey; W&P components in Wytheville; Buss in Basel, Switzerland; Waeschle in Weingarten, Germany; and a plant in New Delhi, India, that makes components for Waeschle equipment.