Meridian to close Arlington facility

Brunswick Corporation, headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., announced at noon Thursday, Oct. 9, the closure of the U.S. Marine/Meridian boat manufacturing facility in Arlington where 790 people are employed.

"There will be some kind of presence in Arlington, but we don't know yet what that will look like," said Dan Kubera, director of media relations and Corporate Communications for Brunswick Corporation.

"The plant, headquarters and product development departments will follow individual schedules," Kubera said.

"They will all be phased out by end of the year," he added.

Arlington is one of three plants, along with those in Navassa, N.C. and Roseburg, Ore., that will be shutdown by the end of 2008. Their Pipestone, Minn. shutdown will be completed during the first quarter of 2009.

All tolled it will eliminate a total of 1,450 hourly and salaried positions.

This is an acceleration of its previously announced efforts to resize the company to remove $300 million in fixed costs by the end of 2009, according to a press release.

"The company is taking the action in light of extraordinary developments in the global financial markets that are affecting the recreational marine industry.

"We are living and working in the most turbulent economic times in recent history," said Brunswick Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dustan E. McCoy.

"The poor economy and the accompanying weak consumer sentiment have eroded the demand for boats and engines these past few months at a swifter pace than originally anticipated.

"For the past few years, Brunswick has been implementing a strategy to transform the way we design and manufacture our products to reduce our level of fixed costs in our manufacturing operations," McCoy said.

"While these times are unprecedented, they provide an opportunity and mandate that we step up our efforts to accomplish our restructuring goals."

Production of the fiberglass boats manufactured in these three plants will be transitioned to other Brunswick facilities.

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