MIDDELFART, DENMARK, JANUARY 24, 2002 - Tenneco Automotive (NYSE: TEN) today announced its intention to close down all production activity at its Walker Denmark Middlefart plant by the end of 2002. The plant manufactures automotive aftermarket exhaust system products.
In a meeting with its cooperation council, the company cited significant existing over capacity and declining aftermarket exhaust sales across Europe as the main reasons for the planned closure. "We regret the need to take this action, and the impact it will have on our people," said Aksel Pedersen, managing director, Walker Denmark.
The closure would result in redundancies for 280 employees. The company is committed to the Denmark market, and will maintain an in-country sales and marketing team to service Danish aftermarket customers with Walker exhaust products imported from its other European operations. Tenneco Automotive already imports ride control products for its aftermarket customers.
Tenneco Automotive has faced difficult industry conditions since becoming an independent company in November 1999, and the company has undertaken a number of initiatives over the last two years to ensure its long-term viability. As a part of this ongoing process, the company, which supplies both original equipment and aftermarket customers, developed a worldwide strategy aimed at optimizing its production and distribution footprint.
"This action is part of Tenneco Automotive’s ongoing strategy to ensure that our business reflects the changing dynamics of the European and global automotive industry," Pedersen said.
The relatively smaller Danish aftermarket, higher labor costs, and the absence of original equipment manufacturers in Denmark were additional factors that led to the company’s intention to close the Middlefart plant.
The plant management proposed to meet with its work representatives tomorrow to discuss the next steps, and to decide on a calendar for further negotiations.
Tenneco Automotive is a $3.5 billion manufacturing company headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., with 22,000 employees worldwide. Tenneco Automotive is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of ride control and exhaust systems and products, which are sold under the Monroe® and Walker® global brand names. Among its products are Sensa-Trac® and Reflex™ shocks and struts, Rancho® shock absorbers, Walker® Quiet-Flow™ mufflers and DynoMax™ performance exhaust products, and Monroe® Clevite™ vibration control components.
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