Layoffs part of Johnson Outdoors’s new watercraft plan

RACINE, Wis., July 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Johnson Outdoors Inc. (Nasdaq: JOUT) has formulated a plan for its watercraft operations under which it will outsource manufacturing at its Grand Rapids, Michigan facility, and shift production from Mansonville, Canada to its Old Town, Maine operation, the company reported in a statement yesterday.

This plan is part of the company’s on-going efforts to increase the efficiency and improve the profitability of its watercraft business unit, according to Johnson Outdoors.

The company estimated that costs and charges associated with these plans will be about $3.0 million and will be incurred across two fiscal years (2004 and 2005). The decision will result in the reduction of 69 positions across the two locations, according to Johnson Outdoors. The company said it is providing severance and outplacement assistance to those affected by these plans.

“As we work to build a sustainable and profitable enterprise long-term, we must balance today’s realities with the future needs of our businesses,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive officer, Johnson Outdoors. “Watercraft will be leaner, yet more flexible, more focused, and more competitive going forward and better prepared to deliver financial performance equal to the strength of our winning brands.”

Johnson Outdoors has contracted with KL Industries (KL) of Muskegon, Michigan to manufacture its Escape, Waterquest and Rogue River branded products. KL is the water recreational products division of Ameriform, a vertically integrated plastic products company with QS-9000 certification. Ameriform currently employs 250 people across four operating divisions, and expects that number to increase as it begins production of Johnson Outdoors’ Escape, Waterquest and Rogue River products, the company reported.

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