Wescast Warns of Foundry Closing

Ontario shutdown is a “likely” option

The chairman and CEO of Wescast Industries Inc. has predicted the company will close its Brantford, ON, foundry this year. Ed Frackowiak announced the company is involved in a review of options to improve its competitive standing in the North American automotive supply chain, and that closing the foundry is a likely conclusion.

Wescast designs, casts, and machines iron exhaust manifolds for automotive OEMs.

"It's never an easy decision to negatively affect part of our Wescast family, but we have an obligation to all stakeholders to ensure the long-term viability and success of the business," Frackowiak said in a company statement.

Wescast said it is discussing the decision with the union representing workers at the plant, specifically “how to provide appropriate support to affected employees, should this alternative receive final board approval.”

Last year Wescast had two labor problems at its Ontario operations: In November workers at Wescast’s machining plant in Strathroy, ON, struck for 10 days before approving a three-year labor contract. In August, employees at Wescast's Wingham, ON, plant staged a four-day strike before a new agreement was reached.

Wescast has been strengthening its position in Europe, too. Last year it bought out is partner Linamar Corp. to take control of a Hungarian venture that manufactures precision-machined components, modules, and systems for engines, transmissions, and chassis systems. It’s now known as Wescast Hungary.

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