Firestone Building Products Company (FSBP) announced it will close its manufacturing plant in Kingstree, S.C. in mid-2011, consolidating all production of EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofing membrane into its larger facility in Prescott, Ark.
INDIANAPOLIS – Firestone
Building Products Company (FSBP) announced it will close its manufacturing plant
in Kingstree, S.C. in mid-2011, consolidating all production of EPDM
(Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofing membrane into its larger facility in
Prescott, Ark. This decision affects 190 teammates in
Kingstree and will result in 100 new jobs in Prescott.
“While this is very difficult news for our teammates in Kingstree, we
know that consolidating these two facilities and maximizing our EPDM production
in Prescott is
the right decision for our company in the current economic climate,” said Ken
Weaver, President, FSBP and Chairman, CEO and President of Firestone Diversified
Products. “We simply have more EPDM capacity between the two locations than
current market conditions can absorb.”
Last fall, FSBP executives began meeting with government officials in
Arkansas and South Carolina to discuss possible EPDM
consolidation between the company’s two facilities. After reviewing
highly-competitive proposals from both South
Carolina and Arkansas and factoring
in related costs due to product mix and equipment relocation, FSBP made the
difficult decision to close the Kingstree plant in mid-2011, and consolidate
that production into the Prescott facility.
“This was an extremely tough decision to make, as our teammates’
performance in Kingstree has always been strong and the government and community
leaders in South
Carolina have been most supportive of our efforts,”
Weaver stated. “However, with both operations running reduced shifts, neither
plant is operating cost-effectively. In combination with productivity
improvements, our proactive efforts have not sufficiently realigned production
capacity with overall demand.”
Company officials notified teammates in Kingstree and Prescott of the
decision today. The Kingstree plant will go through a gradual operations phase
down to ensure there is no interruption to customers during this transition.
While no official plant closure date has been finalized, FSBP anticipates plant
operations will cease around July 1, 2011.
Based on industry shipment data, the U.S. roofing
market unit volume dropped 27 percent during the first full year of the
recession in 2009. In 2010, unit volume rebounded 7 percent from 2009 levels,
but new building construction has had little growth, impacting overall demand.
Industry forecasts indicate sluggish growth in the near term.
“We are grateful to both the Arkansas
Carolina government agencies for their generous
assistance, as we examined every alternative during this decision process,”
Weaver stated. “We also want to thank our union leadership in Prescott for their efforts,
FSBP purchased the Kingstree plant in 1994 from MA Hanna Colonial Rubber.
The facility currently employs 190 teammates. The Prescott facility currently employs more than
400, and has been in operation for 40 years.