Fortis Plastics LLC recently informed employees and the state of Indiana that it plans to transfer work from its Elkhart, Ind., facility, and the company has cut staff at Fort Smith, Ark.
Fortis is a custom injection molder and profile extruder for the appliance, furniture, building products, industrial, automotive and medical-device industries.
The layoff notice, filed with the state, said Elkhart operations will be transferred by Feb. 16, resulting in layoffs. The Elkhart Truth newspaper said Fortis will move all profile extrusion operations to a plant in South Bend, Ind., affecting about 75 employees.
The company's statement, however, did not specify a plan of action and left open other possibilities.
``Fortis continues to review several possible strategic options that will allow us to consolidate our operations and enables us to operate our business more efficiently,'' said Chief Executive Officer Joe Mallak in a news release. ``With the recessionary pressures affecting the plastics industry, we are taking steps to bolster our operations in the current environment,'' he added.
The statement went on to say that potential consolidation sites include a Fortis-owned facility in South Bend as well as locations in other states. It expects the Elkhart facility to serve as a distribution site, with potential for restarting manufacturing operations in the future, the firm said.
``We have not finalized our plans for our future operations, nor has the official corporate center for the company been established. We are carefully weighing all our options and will make final decisions based upon the plan that creates the most value and long-term potential for Fortis and its employees,'' Mallak said.
Fortis said the change should be completed during the first quarter of 2009, without disruption in service.
Fortis also has cut staff at its Fort Smith site, as a result of cutbacks at a Whirlpool Corp. plant there. A local news report said about 30 full-time Fortis jobs were cut after the holiday break, but that the plant still employs 230.
The company said in an e-mailed statement that it ``continues to have active dialogues with agricultural, aerospace and automotive customers to help replace the previous Whirlpool business. However, given the current state of the economy and its effects on the plastics industry, the company has decreased the workforce'' in Fort Smith.
Fortis said it continues to discuss potential incentive plans with several state and local governments. Last month, the firm had an offer of as much as $4 million in incentives from the state of Kentucky to locate its headquarters there.
Fortis was created from the combination of Atlantis Plastics Inc. and L&P Plastics LLC. It is owned by Monomoy Capital Partners LP of New York.
The company has facilities in Elkhart; Fort Smith; Henderson, Ky.; Jackson, Tenn.; Carlyle, Ill.; Poplar Bluff, Mo.; Booneville, Miss.; and Brownsville, Texas. In November, it announced plans to close facilities in LaVergne, Tenn., and Alamo, Texas.