Jason Industries looks to invest in workforce

Revenue up but losses grow in Q1

Jason Industries-Milwaukee

Milwaukee-based Jason Industries, Inc. reported an increase in revenue, but restructuring activities and industrial weakness hampered the company’s performance and it reported a $3 million loss.

Jason Corp-Milwaukee-2016-01-19

Chairman and chief executive officer Jeffry Quinn said the company experienced significant new business in acoustics, which helped drive growth. Those gains were offset by weakness in industrial end markets.

“Like many of our peers, we expect general industrial demand to remain soft,” he said.

The company reported revenue of $191 million, up 8.6 percent from the previous year. The company’s net loss expanded to $2.5 million from $747,000 last year and the loss went from 7 cents per share to 15 cents.

Quinn took over as CEO last year after the company missed expectations for earnings in several quarters. The company has since implemented a cost reduction program that is aiming for $30 million in annual savings in three years.

Quinn said the company is also looking to invest in its workforce and has undertaken wage adjustments in several places where the company was not competitive with local markets.

“I believe the root cause of many of our issues has been a lack of investment in training and development of our people,” he said. “Frankly, turnover has been a problem across the organization and it’s one we’re actively addressing.”

Jason is the parent company of manufacturing companies in seating, finishing, components and automotive acoustics markets. Those companies include DRONCO in Germany, Janesville Acoustics in Michigan, Metalex in Illinois, Milsco in Milwaukee, Osborn in Indiana and Germany and Sealeze in Virginia.

Revenue from the seating business increased $1 million to $52 million with growth in heavy industry and power sports and lower volumes in heavyweight motorcycles.

Finishing revenue was up $7.4 million to $50.3 million, driven by $9.5 million in net sales from the acquisition of DRONCO.

The acoustics business was up $11 million to $61.9 million based on the strength of increased volumes and new platform awards.

Components revenue was down $4.3 million to $26.8 million with lower demand for industrial metal products and volume declines in smart utility meter components.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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