Layoffs hit Newton, contract unsettled at Amana, Maytag stock takes hit

Layoffs hit Newton, contract unsettled at Amana; Maytag stock takes hit
 
Date September 24, 2004
Section(s) Local News
   
 
By ANDY KARR

NDN Staff Writer

Layoffs for 193 positions at Maytag Plant 2 were taking place today as Maytag decreased production levels in Newton.

Company spokesperson Lynne Dragomier said the cut in the number of employees was in response to a decrease in demand for the products manufactured here.

While the layoffs were occurring in Newton, contract negotiations for the workers at Maytag‘s Amana refrigeration plant continued.

“There is nothing to report at this time,” Dragomier said. “Obviously because we’re in negotiations, I’m not able to comment on them specifically.”

The Amana contract, covering nearly 2,300 workers at Maytag‘s Amana facility, expires at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, she said. The negotiations come on the heels of the closure of Maytag‘s Galesburg, Ill., refrigeration plant last week. Maytag officials have said some of the 1,600 jobs lost at that plant would move to Amana, with other jobs moving to a new facility in Reynosa, Mexico.

Amid the layoffs and contract negotiations, Maytag stock hit a new 52-week low Thursday, falling to $18.38 before rebounding to finish the day at $18.54 a share. Maytag stock has had a tough week, already falling about $1.50 from Monday’s opening price of $20.03. In early morning trading, the stock had dropped another 28 cents to $18.26.

Thursday’s drop came after rival Electrolux sent word earlier in the day that steep steel prices would eat into second-half profits. On that news, Electrolux fell in trading yesterday $.66 to $35.54. Other appliance makers’ stocks took hits as well with Maytag rival Whirlpool falling $1.23 from Wednesday’s close of $63.03 to $61.80 by Thursday’s close.

“The steel cost issue that Electrolux identified is an issue that we have been discussing,” Dragomier said. “We’ve been discussing it for some time. Specifically, most recently in our second quarter results, the steel cost issue was discussed. This isn’t a new issue.”

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