By Bill Poovey
Published April 29, 2014
Caterpillar Inc. is closing its plant at Fountain Inn and shifting those operations to Georgia and Texas by the end of this year. Starting in the second quarter, the Peoria, Ill.-based manufacturer will eliminate 380 full-time and 130 temporary jobs at the 20-year-old plant.
Caterpillar is shifting the marine engine operation at Fountain Inn to Griffin, Ga., and consolidating production of its midrange engine product at Seguin, Texas, a statement said today. Company spokeswoman Barbara Cox said the Caterpillar plant at Newberry makes generator sets and is not affected in the decision.
The company “determined that to better utilize its current manufacturing footprint, improve efficiency and continue to deliver world-class quality to customers, the integration of the marine product into the Griffin facility and consolidation of its midrange engine assembly to Seguin provided the most optimal solution.”
The company statement also said the Fountain Inn plant will start ramping down production in the second quarter and close by the end of this year. Full-time employees who are displaced will receive severance packages and outplacement support services.
“We recognize that this decision will be difficult for our employees,” said Tana Utley, a vice president for Caterpillar’s Large Power Systems Division. Utley said the company appreciates the employees’ work and dedication but “after considering our options, we have concluded we must move forward with this decision for better asset utilization.”