A June 26 announcement by Grede Holdings LLC confirmed its plan to close the iron foundry in Berlin, WI, explaining the move as part of its continuing “manufacturing footprint optimization plan.” That ongoing effort has resulted in three other foundries closing since 2013, and consolidation of two Mexican foundries.
Grede also noted it is updating other foundries in the group with “modern, more advanced equipment.”
Grede Holdings was formed in 2009 by investors consolidating the former Grede LLC and Citation Corp. organizations. After several acquistions that enlarged the organization to 17 foundries, the group now covers 13 foundries and three machine shops, where it manufactures gray and ductile iron castings, and specialty products like high-silicon molybdenum iron castings.
The group’s cast products are distributed mainly to automotive and truck markets, though it supplies other industrial sectors too.
Grede foundries in Marion and Selma, AL, and Radford, VA, have been closed in the past two years. It has modernization programs underway at foundries in Briscoe, NC, and St. Cloud, MN.
Last year, Grede Holdings was acquired by a private-equity group, American Securities LLC, and reorganized as part of a portfolio called MPG Inc., along with two automotive forging producers.
The Berlin foundry closing will mean job losses for 133 hourly workers and 24 salaried employees. Earlier this month, the workers at Berlin were issued the mandatory 60-day notice of layoffs as required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, and the foundry stated it anticipates the layoffs will begin on September 1.
The Berlin plant will be closed no later than December 31, Grede announced.
“Given the conditions in the industrial markets, particularly mining, construction and agriculture, we saw the opportunity to reduce costs while serving our customers in the industrial markets through our more efficient foundries,” stated president and CEO Doug Grimm. “Although the closure decision was a difficult one, we believe it positions Grede to best serve our industrial customers and maintain a cost-effective manufacturing footprint.”