Housewares maker Keter Plastics is closing a plant in New Mexico in a move that will eliminate 60 jobs.
Herzliya, Israel-based Keter made plastic sheds, patio furniture and related items at the site in Belen, which it acquired in 2017. Keter built a new 80,000-square-foot plant at the site and used an older 165,00-square-foot plant for warehousing. The older plant previously had been used by Solo Cup.
Strategic business unit leader Tom Lombardo announced the closing in a video to employees on May 28, according to an article on the website of the Valencia County News-Bulletin newspaper. Lombardo could not make the announcement in person because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
In the video, Lombardo said that production would end on July 31 and that the decision to close predated the COVID-19 crisis. "This is a very difficult decision," he added. "This is not a reflection on the workforce."
Keter reviewed its network of global plants before making the decision, Lombardo said. Employees being let go will be eligible for transfers to Keter plants in Indiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ontario.
In addition to 60 full-time workers, the firm employs 40-50 part-time workers in Belen.
Products made in Belen now will be made at Keter's Indiana and North Carolina plants. Lombardo said that Keter invested almost $30 million in the Belen site.
Home Depot was one of the plant's major customers. The Belen site in 2017 beat out sites in California, Arizona and Nevada for the Keter project.
Keter is a global plastics manufacturer with global sales of more than $1 billion. The firm is majority owned by private equity firm BC Partners of London.