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AGC Flat Glass announces major restructuring, loss of 350 jobs in area

Sharon Caskey Hayes • Apr 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

AGC executive: Restructuring 'best path' for company's survival

AGC Flat Glass — formerly AFG Glass — announced Wednesday it will shrink its North American business by roughly 40 percent in a major restructuring that will impact nearly 1,000 employees as plants are closed, mothballed, or sold.

Locally, AGC plans to mothball one of its two production lines at the Greenland plant in Hawkins County and eliminate 250 employees — or roughly half of the factory’s work force.

In Kingsport, the Blue Ridge plant will be spared any cuts. However 100 employees in the Corporate Services unit next door will be impacted.

AGC President and Chief Executive Officer Brad Kitterman broke the news to employees at about 11 a.m. Wednesday. Before that, Kitterman and AGC Vice President of Human Resources Lisa Escobar shared the news in a private meeting with Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips, Kingsport Chamber CEO Miles Burdine, Kingsport Chamber President Tom Segelhorst and the Times-News.

“These are difficult decisions, and they in no way reflect the skills and capabilities of AGC’s outstanding employees across its North American operations,” Kitterman said.

“These decisions were made to minimize the impact of ongoing market trends by eliminating glass overcapacity and non-core product segments. While difficult, the announcements we are making today will enable AGC Flat Glass North America to create a strong base for future growth — by focusing on the most strategically important and high-growth segments of our business.”

As part of the restructuring plan, AGC will cease operations at its plants in Victorville, Calif., Hampton, Iowa, and St. Augustin, Quebec.

The company will shut down the production line at the Greenland plant by the end of this week, and 250 jobs will be eliminated within the next four months as the plant sells off inventory and reduces activity.

The plant and production line cuts will impact about 800 jobs at the four plants.

Meanwhile, AGC plans to divest its glass fabrication business by the end of this year. Locally 37 people who work in the fabrication business at the company’s Corporate Services unit in Kingsport will be impacted as AGC seeks a buyer for that business.

Another 63 people at the Corporate Services office in Kingsport will lose their jobs in the restructuring plan.

In addition, AGC’s North American Research and Development capabilities will be consolidated into the Greenland plant and Abingdon facility, which will result in the closure of the company’s R&D facility in Petaluma, Calif.

Five AGC plants in North America will be unaffected by Wednesday’s announcement, including the Blue Ridge plant in Kingsport; the Richmond, Ky., operation; Spring Hill, Kansas, plant; Abingdon, Va., facility; and the plant in Jerry Run, W. Va.

AGC plans to offer affected employees severance packages and career transition services.

AGC currently employs about 1,180 people at its operations in Kingsport, Hawkins County, and Abingdon, Va. Once the restructuring is completed, the company will employ about 830 people in the region — including 250 at the Greenland plant, 380 at the Blue Ridge plant in Kingsport, 120 at Corporate Services in Kingsport, and 80 at the Abingdon plant.

AGC is headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga.

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