US Marine plant reduces work force

ROSEBURG, Ore. – US Marine announced this week that it will further decrease production and subsequently reduce its work force by about 40 positions at its manufacturing facility here.

The elimination of these positions represents about a 13-percent decrease in its work force at the plant, according to Brunswick.

“These actions are in response to continued weakness in the marine market,” Brunswick said in its announcement, echoing comments it made earlier this month after other cut backs were announced. “The U.S. marine industry has seen weak demand as numerous economic pressures continued to reduce consumers’ spending power and new boat purchases are being adversely impacted. US Marine has concluded it must take measures to size its production levels in line with retail demand.”

The US Marine cutbacks follow other Brunswick reductions, as Sea Ray and Baja have eliminated a total of 270 employees over the last two months. On August 3, a story on local television station WATE reported that the company would be eliminating 90 jobs at its two Knoxville, Tenn., facilities, and on Oct. 5, Sea Ray announced that it would further reduce production and reduce its work force by about 180 positions, affecting facilities in Tennessee and Florida as well as Baja Boats in Ohio.

Investors and equity research firms alike are watching the situation closely as Brunswick nears the Oct. 26 release of its third quarter financial results.

“We believe declines in retail boat sales continued in September,” says Michael L. Savner, CFA, of Banc of America Securities LLC, an equite research firm. “We expect Brunswick third quarter results to reflect the weak marine environment, partly offset by growth in international and fitness segment. A recent Info-link report for bellwether states shows lagging three months sales were down 13 percent in August.”

The most recent cut backs are expected to take place on or about Oct. 26, according to the company. Additionally, the Roseburg facility, which manufactures Bayliner and Maxum cruisers, will go on furlough for a total of four weeks, including the week of Oct. 22, the week of Thanksgiving and two weeks during the holidays, “to help further reduce production,” Brunswick said.

“These decisions are very difficult, but nonetheless must be made to protect the overall health of the business,” Brunswick said in its announcement. “ Affected employees will receive assistance in transitioning to other employment.

According to a story on the The News-Review of Roseburg’s Web site, Norm Gershon, director of Umpqua Training and Employment, said seminars will take place at Bayliner so potentially displaced workers can learn more about job placement options and job training opportunities. Umpqua Community College and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Douglas County will also participate in the seminars, according to the article.

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