Apogee's Viracon to idle Utah plant

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 12, 2013 - 11:20 PM

The financial surprises continued at Bloomington-based Apogee Enterprises Inc. on Tuesday as officials said they will temporarily close their building-glass plant in Utah in a product realignment move that adjusts to the slumping construction market.

The two-year shutdown will affect 222 workers in St. George, Utah. Production from the idled plant will be picked up by Apogee’s Viracon subsidiary glass plants in Owatonna, Minn., and Statesboro, Ga. Officials said they plan to reopen the Utah facility.

But for now, Viracon President Kelly Schuller said the Utah idling “was a very difficult but necessary decision that we had hoped to avoid. Our St. George workforce has done a great job, but the prolonged construction downturn required us to act to improve our operating efficiencies and maintain our competitive position.”

In a previous interview, Apogee spokeswoman Mary Ann Jackson said commercial construction business has been weak since the recession began. Corporate revenue was $662 million in fiscal 2012, down from $925 million in fiscal 2009. As a result, the company is working to maximize plant efficiencies so it can manufacture at lower costs and better compete globally.

Viracon has been in the news recently as the company seeks to invest $30 million in factory efficiencies and other improvements in either Owatonna or Statesboro.

That decision, and subsequent requests for tax relief proposals from both states, have pitted Minnesota against Georgia in a race to win the building investment.

 

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725

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