Worthington Industries announces layoffs and facility closings

Worthington Industries (www.worthingtonindustries.com) will reduce its workforce by nearly 300 through a combination of plant closings and layoffs. The facilities to be closed are: in steel processing, the Louisville, Ky., facility and in metal framing, the Renton, Wash., location.

"These actions are a continuation of the broad-based cost cutting and transformational effort we began a year ago," John P. McConnell, chairman and chief executive officer of Worthington Industries said. "Pursuing these efforts is even more important as the industry sees the downward declines in the automotive, construction and other markets. It is never pleasant to displace employees, but it is critical that we control our costs and appropriately manage our balance sheet during these difficult economic conditions. We also intend to drive additional cost savings by optimizing work schedules and reducing or eliminating overtime." McConnell added, "While this has become a more challenging business environment, our focus is on preserving what has distinguished us throughout prior economic cycles: profitability, financial strength and consistent dividends."

The Louisville facility was opened in 1961, the first facility in the Worthington Steel Company outside of Columbus, Ohio. At the time, it served a growing Southern market including large appliance manufacturers and a number of roll-forming companies. While profitable for a number of decades, the market in this region significantly shifted in recent years. Louisville employs 50 employees and is expected to close by May 31, 2009. The steel processing business segment is also reducing its workforce by 60 seasonal and temporary workers. The Renton facility employs 22 and will be closed by December 31, 2008. The metal framing facility was opened in 2000, but has experienced a decline in demand the past two years. Dietrich Metal Framing is laying off an additional 150 employees across the organization.

It is estimated that these actions will result in annual savings of $13 million with one-time expenses of $6 million, primarily due to severance costs and asset write-downs.

Worthington Industries is a diversified metal processing company with annual sales of approximately $3 billion. The Columbus, Ohio, based company is a North American value-added steel processor and manufacturer of metal products such as metal framing, pressure cylinders, automotive past model service stampings, metal ceiling grid systems and laser welded blanks. Worthington employs approximately 8,000 people and operates 68 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries.

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