Hayes Lemmerz to Close Wheel Plant

Revising outlook, emphasizing growth overseas

Within some updated financial forecasts, Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. has announced plans to close an aluminum-wheel manufacturing plant at La Mirada, CA, and transfer the workload of that operation to its Huntington, IN, plant. La Mirada employs about 120 people.

The move was one part of a new strategy laid out in the wake of new financial forecasts. Hayes updated its FY 2004 earnings forecast and revised its FY 2005 outlook.

Hayes Lemmerz supplies automotive and commercial highway wheels, brakes, powertrain, suspension, structural, and other lightweight components, and operates 43 facilities worldwide.

The moves announced are intended to drive the company’s long-term growth, promote international expansion, improve competitiveness, and enhance its financial profile. Curtis Clawson, president, CEO, and chairman, stated: "The company is committed to improving profitability over the long term for our shareholders and today's announcements are integral to fulfilling this plan.

Other moves involved issuing new, unsecured notes in a private placement valued at $150 million (denominated as Euros); and establishing an accounts-receivable securitization program to finance up to $25 million of international accounts receivable.

"Our long-term goal has always been to maximize our shareholder value. We will continue to pursue aggressive cost reductions, investments in the right geographic markets, and focus our resources on our core strengths where we have a competitive advantage. And, we must always consider other strategic options that will maximize long-term value creation and be in the best interest of our shareholders," Clawson said.

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