Bekaert S.A. plans to close its Clarksdale bead wire plant primarily because of the decline in tire manufacturing in North America.
The closing is expected to be completed by Oct. 7, according to Rick McWhirt, president of Bekaert's steel cord operations in North America and general manager of steel cord for North America and Latin America.
About 76 employees at the facility will be laid off, he said, adding that the company is providing outplacement services and severance packages to the workers.
A few of those employees may be transferred, he indicated.
Mr. McWhirt said the overall economic downturn contributed greatly to the impending closure, but the primary reason was the drop in sales in the tire industry.
In addition to the economy, more imports coming into the U.S. have had a negative impact in North American tire production.
Bead wire production at the facility will be shifted to Bekaert's plants in Rome, Ga., and Shelbyville, Ky., he said. Both are tire reinforcement steel cord factories.
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