Timken to Close Ontario Bearings Plant

Almost 200 jobs at risk in closing planned for 2013

Motion-system devices and specialty steelmaker The Timken Co. plans to close a tapered roller-bearing plant in St. Thomas, Ont., sometime next year, reportedly eliminating almost 200 jobs there. The manufacturer plans to reassign the production volume of the Canadian operation to plants in Ohio, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and a customer-service center also at the St. Thomas site will be moved to Toronto. Timken estimated it will see pre-tax savings of $5 million to $8 million annually by closing the plant.

Timken produces the bearings for automotive and heavy truck suppliers, and other industrial customers, but it said that changes in its customer supply chain have reduced the demand those products. Reportedly, the almost 60-year-old plant has been operating at less than 20% capacity.

“With similar capacity available at plants located closer to customers, this is a necessary step to improve our service and competitiveness across North America,” stated Richard Boyer, Timken's director of global manufacturing.

In a regulatory filing on the closing plan, Timken estimated the plant shutdown would cost $60 million to $70 million for severance payments, pension obligations, and plant clean-up costs.

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