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Despite Plant Shut Down and Layoffs, AGC Flat Glass North America Says It's Well-Positioned to Meet Market Demands

In response to a continuing downturn in the U.S. marketplace for flat glass, particularly in the automotive sector, AGC Flat Glass North America ceased glassmaking operations at its float glass manufacturing facility in Bridgeport, West Va. (Jerry Run), yesterday, affecting approximately 232 employees. The Jerry Run location primarily served the automotive market. In addition, the company also carried out a temporary workforce reduction of 100 employees at its pattern glass plant located in Kingsport, Tenn. (Blue Ridge). (CLICK HERE to read the full press release).

According to Chris Correnti, AGC vice president, general counsel and secretary, despite the plant closing and the layoffs, the company is still well positioned to meet market demands.

"We still have inventory in the Jerry Run plant that we will continue to ship as the market demands. We are also positioned to bring assets back as we need to," Correnti says, referencing the company's float line in Greenland, Tenn., that it shut down last April as well as its plant in Victorville, Calif., that it closed last August. "As demand grows we have those other lines that we can bring back. Even in West Virginia, we have those assets that we can bring back as the market justifies the need."

As a result of the plant closing, customers can expect to see little change in the way they placed orders. According to Correnti, all orders are processed through a centralized order-entry system so orders will now be routed to one of the company's other manufacturing locations. He says customers can still call on the company's inside sales team or their outside sales rep with questions.

"Any jobs that had been in progress at Jerry Run were taken into account during the planning stages these past few weeks and if a job had to be resourced those customers have already be notified," Correnti adds.

No changes to transportation/shipping costs are expected as a result of the plant closure.

For the 232 employees now without jobs at the West Virginia plant Correnti says they will receive their WARN pay and "there are also discussions with their union so there will likely be agreements on certain things from that." As far as the Blue Ridge plant he says that's a straight temporary layoff "and as part of that there are certain things the employees are entitled to based on their union contracts [though he could not disclose specifics]. We believe that this is truly temporary and expect the demand to pick back up enough to bring those people back as the global economy returns within the next year to 18 months," he adds, explaining that the Blue Ridge plant serves a lot of overseas markets.

"We believe we are positioned to respond to the needs of the market as we move forward. We are going to continue to focus on solar glazing as well as the residential and commercial markets and position ourselves to serve the demands of the customers," Correnti adds.

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