To cut costs in what officials called continued market weakness, auxiliary equipment maker Conair Group Inc. on June 30 laid off employees at its headquarters in Cranberry Township. Pa., and its factory in Franklin, Pa.
The market weakness has been more severe and more prolonged than anyone predicted a year ago, said Conair President and Chief Operating Officer Christopher Keller, in a prepared statement.
Conair employees had been on shortened workweeks. After the layoffs, the remaining employees will return to five-day workweeks, effective July 6. Conair is not revealing the number of people being laid off, Keller said.
It is very difficult to take actions that adversely impact a number of our employees, Keller said. We expect that these moves will be temporary and that we will very soon have the opportunity to bring back those that have been laid off, he added.
The overall U.S. market for auxiliary equipment was down 11 percent in 2008 from 2007, with total bookings of $292 million, according to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington.
SPI said weak market conditions for auxiliaries should persist through this year, before a recovery begins in 2010.
Conair had some good news to report from the NPE2009 show in Chicago: The company sold several of the new, single-stage EnergySmart PET drying systems and other equipment, worth a total of about $2 million in sales.
Conair is in a legal battle with its rival Novatec Inc. over alleged copying of Novatec's dual-flow dryer design in Conair's two-stage EnergySmart machines.