Local Business

Modine closing its Ringwood manufacturing facility

RINGWOOD– Modine Manufacturing has announced it will close its Ringwood facility over an 18-month period, resulting in the loss of 135 full-time jobs.

Modine designs, engineers, tests, and manufacturers heat transfer products for a wide range of applications and markets.

Modine Spokeswoman Margaret Kelsey said she expected the bulk of layoffs to come in 2015.

"I would not expect anything by the end of this year, or at least not anything significant," she said.

The plant, 4400 Ringwood Road, has been open since 1961, focusing on the company's light-duty vehicular and automotive segments.

That portion of Modine's company has seen a gradual decrease in sales due to competition outside the U.S., Kelsey said.

"We've seen, from a competitive point of view, some of that market shift to low cost countries in particular," she said. "So there has been a decrease."

Today, the Ringwood plant makes parallel flow and serpentine condensers, oil coolers and radiators for the automotive, commercial vehicle, off-highway and building HVAC markets, according to a Modine news release announcing plans to close.

That production will move to current Modine facilities in North America, including those in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; Lawrenceburg, Tenn.; and Jefferson City, Mo.

Kelsey said the company will have will have opportunities for laid off employees willing to relocate, but said such positions won't be guaranteed.

"There will be job growth at these other facilities and we certainly would welcome our McHenry employees to apply if they're interested in going to those locations," she said.

In the release, Modine Regional Vice President for North America Scott Wollenberg said the move will help the company "rationalize production, maintain the scale we need in our manufacturing operations and improve our overall competitiveness and profitability."

Modine stock had jumped $2.66 a share to $17.12 in two days since the announcement.

Kelsey reiterated that company management wanted to bring manufacturing up to scale production.

"We just couldn't see a path [in Ringwood] to getting it up to scale at this point or any point in the future," she said.

Jeffrey Poynter, director of the McHenry County Workforce Network Board, said he had just learned about the closing Thursday but would be reaching out to the plant manager to start working with employees.

Employers that layoff 50 or more employees are typically required to give workforce officials at least 60 days notice before the job losses – a threshold Modine likely can still meet, given Kelsey's statement that the bulk of cuts will come next year.

Poynter said his agency would work to make the employees aware of Workforce Network programs and put them in touch with other county agencies.

"We'll work with them in any way," Poynter said. "We'd like to get in there and so some rapid response for the employees."

NOTE TO READERS: This story has been changed to reflect the town the plant is located in. The Northwest Herald regrets the error. It has also been changed to reflect the year the plant opened, due to incorrect information provided to the Northwest Herald.

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