CLYDE, Ohio, Feb 19, 2009
Whirlpool Corp. will invest $175 million at its manufacturing plant in this Sandusky County town as part of its plan to begin building a new energy-efficient automatic washer, a move that is expected to create 90 to 100 jobs.
The decision comes three months after Whirlpool laid off 250 workers at the Clyde washing-machine plant, which has about 2,500 workers and is by far the largest employer in the county southeast of Toledo.
The news was significant as it came about a week after Whirlpool reported its fourth-quarter 2008 profit fell 76 percent and sales dropped 19 percent, plus it reduced its 2009 profit forecast.
Company spokesman Jill Saletta said the northwest Ohio investment is to begin immediately and that the jobs will be added in 2010.
The company said the plant, which has 2.3 million square feet, was chosen for the new work because it has a proven record of expertise in building automatic washers.
"The Clyde Division has had a long-standing reputation within Whirlpool for delivering on major projects. This investment is a reflection of the flexible, progressive, and lean efforts by the Clyde employees," said Al Holaday, vice president of manufacturing operations for Whirlpool's North American Region.
Gov. Ted Strickland praised the decision by the Benton Harbor, Mich., company.
"Whirlpool's plan to reinvest in Ohio and create jobs is terrific news," he said.
The November layoffs were part of Whirlpool's plan to cut expenses in response to slowing consumer demand. In addition to the layoffs at the Clyde plant, the company laid off about 170 workers in Findlay, and announced plans to move 400 jobs to Findlay from a dishwasher factory it was closing in Jackson, Tenn.