From WisBusiness.com …
— General Motors will cut one shift at the Janesville assembly plant in July and lay off more than 750 employees – about 30 percent of its workforce – company officials say.
Other Rock County companies that supply the GM plant could also be affected by the furloughs, with hundreds more layoffs possible. Analysts said the move is a response to soaring fuel costs and slowing sales by the automaker.
The cutbacks by GM could mean the company will have to return some of the $10 million it received from the state in 2005 as part of a deal to keep the plant open.
Commerce Department spokesman Tony Hozeny said GM got $1 million from the Workforce Development Department, $1 million from the Focus on Engergy Program and $8 million from Commerce. Hozeny said state officials only learned of the impending layoffs Monday afternoon. He said it was too early to say how much, if anything, GM would be required to return.
— Wal-Mart plans to build a 156,000-square-foot Supercenter store southeast of Moorland Road and College Avenue in Muskego. This will be the first Wal-Mart store in Muskego.
The store will have 300 to 325 employees. Pending approval by city officials, construction on the store should begin next year and be complete in 2010, officials said.
— Regal Beloit Corp. has acquired Joyce Court Holdings Ltd. and Grand Delight Investments Ltd., sole shareholders of Wuxi Hwada Motor Co. and Wuxi New Hwada Motor Co. in Wuxi, China.
Hwada is a leading designer and manufacturer of Integral IEC and NEMA electric motors, which are used in various industrial applications such as compressor, pump, paper and steel processing, and power plants.
The purchase price was $27.6 million in cash and the assumption of approximately $8 million in net liabilities. Additionally, under the terms of the transaction, the company will pay to the seller up to $8.5 million received by the company in the future upon the sale of certain real property rights owned by Hwada.
See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=124710
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Janesville GM plant cutting 750 jobs: Slow sales of sport utility vehicles will result in big job cuts in Janesville. General Motors said Monday that it will eliminate one of its two shifts at the Janesville assembly plant, resulting in the loss of an estimated 756 hourly jobs. The facility, which employs 2,600 hourly and 195 salaried workers, is one of four plants affected by the move to make 88,000 fewer full-size pickup trucks and 50,000 fewer full-size sport utility vehicles from GM’s North American production plants for the rest of 2008. The job losses, which will begin next month, didn’t surprise community leaders, who have been working to diversify the city’s economy. But while there wasn’t shock in the city of more than 62,000 people, the loss of jobs still stings.
Wis. governor promises help for GM workers: Gov. Jim Doyle promised to help 750 workers at the Janesville General Motors plant who will be laid off due to sagging sales. Doyle promised Monday to send a rapid response team to help the workers expedite unemployment claims and give them access to job training and placement services. The governor says the state will also work to get an extension for unemployment benefits for two years and up to $15,000 for additional education and retraining for eligible workers. Doyle encouraged all those affected to ask about available services at their local job center or call toll free at 888-258-9966.
Recession builds in city, report says: Recession appears to be gaining momentum in Milwaukee and other cities, according to a new report from the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The comparison for the month of February shows Milwaukee among 23 of the nation’s 50 largest cities to suffer a 12-month decline from February 2007 in the number of residents employed. Among the top 20 Frostbelt cities, 13 had lower employment than the year before. Milwaukee’s loss of 1.5%, or 3,711, of employed residents from February 2007 marked the second straight month and the third time in five months the city had lower employment than the year before. It also was Milwaukee’s biggest percentage loss since a 2.1% setback from April 2003 to April 2004.
Madison feeling lucky: Google opens office downtown: Madison’s profile in the high-tech world just received its second boost of good news in less than a week. The Capital Times confirmed that Internet giant Google has set up an engineering office downtown to focus on hardware and software systems design. “I think Google coming to Madison, a big part of that is because we have a strong (computer sciences and electrical computer engineering) program and we have good students here,” said Parmesh Ramanathan, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department at UW-Madison. “I think this is a real positive for both the university and for Madison.” According to a source familiar with the situation, Google has been running a lab just off the Capitol Square, at 10 E. Doty St., since October.
The Manitowoc Co. reports record sales: The Manitowoc Co. (NYSE: MTW) on Monday reported that it again had set record net sales and earnings per share as each of the company’s three business segments showed solid improvements during the first quarter of 2008. Net sales totaled $1.08 billion in the first quarter, which ended March 31, an increase of 25 percent from the first quarter of 2007. Reported earnings per diluted share were $0.78 for the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 56 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007. The Manitowoc-based company makes commercial cranes, ice dispensers and refrigeration equipment, employs 2,969 people in northeastern Wisconsin and about 10,000 worldwide. “The Manitowoc Company’s strong performance continues across all our businesses, generating strong financial results for our shareholders,” said Glen E. Tellock, Manitowoc’s president and chief executive officer.
Regal Beloit acquires Chinese motor maker: Regal Beloit Corp. has purchased an electric motor manufacturer in China, giving the Beloit company its first wholly owned industrial motor plant in that country. Regal Beloit said late April 25 that it acquired Joyce Court Holdings Ltd. and Grand Delight Investments Ltd., sole shareholders of Wuxi Hwada Motor Co. and Wuxi New Hwada Motor Co., which collectively operate as Hwada. Hwada, in Wuxi, China, produces electric motors used in various industrial applications such as compressor, pump, paper and steel processing, and power plants. Approximately half of Hwada’s product sales are in the China industrial markets. The other half is exported to Europe (35 percent), the United States (10 percent) and Southeast Asia (5 percent).
Broadwind to buy Badger Transport: Broadwind Energy Inc., the wind energy industry supplier that owns Tower Tech Systems and RBA Inc. in Manitowoc, said Monday that it agreed to buy Badger Transport Inc., a heavy hauler based in Clintonville. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed in a press release from Broadwind (OTCBB: BWEN), a Naperville, Ill.-based provider of wind tower components and services. Broadwind expects the deal to close in the second quarter. Badger transports oversized and overweight loads throughout the United States and Canada, including wind towers, wind turbine blades and other over-sized equipment for large industrial applications.
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