Manufacturing Briefs

Manufacturing, Distribution & Logistics

Bud and Miller parents in acquisition talks

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, the parent company of Budweiser, has indicated to SABMiller, the parent of MillerCoors, that it plans to make an acquisition offer.

The company hasn’t yet released any of the details of the proposal to SABMiller, which released a statement in response to speculation around the potential deal.

“The board of SABMiller will review and respond as appropriate to any proposal which might be made,” the company said in the statement. “There can be no certainty that an offer will be made or as to the terms on which any offer might be made.”

AB InBev then confirmed in its own statement that it has approached SABMiller’s board of directors about a combination of the massive brewing companies.

“AB InBev’s intention is to work with SABMiller’s board toward a recommended transaction,” the company said in a statement. “There can be no certainty that this approach will result in an offer or agreement, or as to the terms of any such agreement.”

AB InBev must announce by 5 p.m. on Oct. 14 either a firm intention to make an offer or that it does not plan to make an offer.

London-based SABMiller is one of the top five global brewing companies, making more than 200 beers including Miller Lite and and Pilsner Urquell. It reported $3.3 billion in net profit in the year ended March 31, down from $3.4 billion a year ago. Revenue was flat at $22.1 billion.

Leuven, Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch INBev is the world’s leading brewer and one of its top five consumer products companies. AB InBev’s brands include Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois. Its second quarter revenue was down 9 percent to $11.1 billion.

Both breweries have struggled with flagging consumer demand for their drinks, as consumers turn to smaller craft brews.

Wisconsin added 6,500 manufacturing jobs in a year

Wisconsin added 6,516 industrial jobs from July 2014 to July 2015, representing an increase of 1.1 percent. That information comes from the 2016 Wisconsin Manufacturers Register, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers’ News Inc.

This is the fourth consecutive year manufacturing employment increased in Wisconsin, according to the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying the industry since 1912.

Manufacturers’ News reports Wisconsin is now home to 10,694 manufacturers employing 572,189 workers. MNI data shows that over a four-year period beginning in July 2011 the state gained 18,568 industrial jobs, an increase of 3.3 percent.

Job growth was led by the food processing sector, which climbed 2.8 percent over the year. Wisconsin’s food processing industry currently accounts for the second-most factory jobs, employing 69,663. The industrial machinery sector ranks first in the state for number of jobs, employing 102,750, with no significant change reported during the survey period.

Johnson Controls to cut 3,000 employees

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. announced it is planning to reduce its global salaried workforce by as many as 3,000 people, or 2.5 percent of total employees, over the next two years.

“We are not releasing specifics on where the cuts will occur and how many,” said Fraser Engerman, director of global media relations. “I can say these reductions will be across all of our business units and our corporate function. They will be not limited to Milwaukee or any one location.”

The global diversified industrial company said the reductions are due to comprehensive initiatives designed to ultimately deliver up to $250 million in annual cost savings.

In its third quarter earnings announcement, Johnson Controls announced it was initiating a comprehensive cost saving program to address existing costs. Productivity improvements continue to be realized through the ongoing implementation of the Johnson Controls Operating System, which is said to be lowering annual operating expenses through standardization, simplification and waste reduction across the company.

“As we continually adapt to our changing business portfolio, there is significant opportunity across the company for us to reduce costs, simplify processes and increase our speed and agility,” said Alex Molinaroli, chairman and chief executive officer. “The steps we are taking now will enable a more competitive, sustainable cost structure for Johnson Controls as we continue to move the company forward.”

Sheboygan County manufacturer expanding

Viking Masek Global Packaging Technologies is doubling the size of its Oostburg facility to accommodate ongoing growth and increase production capabilities.

The company has started construction at its U.S. headquarters, 40 Woodland Court, adding 18,000-square-feet and 17 new offices. Once construction is complete at the end of 2015, the total square footage of the building will be 52,000-square-feet.

Sheboygan-based Quasius Construction Inc. is handling the project.

Viking was founded in the mid-1990s by Rick Leonhard, president, and is also co-owned by Robb Leonhard, vice president; RC Huhn, chief financial officer; and Scott Miller, operations manager.

The four partners formed an exclusive partnership with Masek of the Czech Republic in the mid-2000s, leading to the formation of Viking Masek Global Packaging Technologies.

The company currently has 45 employees, but plans to hire more once construction is complete, said Danielle Ohl, sales and marketing coordinator.

GE to lay off 350 employees in Waukesha

GE Power & Water announced it will stop manufacturing gas engines in Waukesha and lay off 350 manufacturing workers there.

The company plans to build a new $265 million “brilliant factory” to manufacture engines in Canada, which will have the added ability to manufacture diesel engine components for GE

Transportation. The factory will use data, analytics and software to improve efficiency. The company plans to shift the 350 manufacturing jobs to that facility.

The employees being laid off in Waukesha build engines for compression, mechanical drive and power generation applications. GE notified the affected employees and more than 400 U.S. suppliers of its decision. The plant generated almost $47 million in revenue for Wisconsin suppliers, the company said.

Another 200 employees in Waukesha will not be impacted. The company said it’s too soon to say whether it will close the Waukesha manufacturing facility.

GE said it has made the shift in its manufacturing operations because of the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which provides export financing the company uses often.

Since July 1, the Ex-Im bank has been in limbo as Congress discusses whether it should continue.

‘Walk the Talk’ conference to explore interplay of creativity and innovation

With plans to converge their two flagship conferences, Creative Alliance Milwaukee and The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE) will present a SXSW Interactive-esque event on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at more than 15 venues across the Third Ward and Walker’s Point.

The traveling conference, born from CAM’s Creative Milwaukee @ Work Summit and MiKE’s Flying Car, will be known as “Walk the Talk” with a theme along the lines of the “Intersection of Creativity and Innovation.”

The conference will urge attendees to move beyond conversation about community topics to necessary and impactful action. Anchoring the day will be keynote speeches by Milwaukee Public Museum president and chief executive officer Dennis Kois, who will explore creativity, and Andrew Williams, Ph.D., who will center on innovation. Williams is director of the Humanoid Engineering & Intelligent Robotics Lab at Marquette University.

The event will also address business issues related to talent attraction and development, organizational process, company culture, the business of art, and creative placemaking.

Among those slated to speak are Cielo executives Sue Marks and Kristen Wright, who will give their insight on talent; DCI-Artform leaders Karin Peterson and Mark Muhurin, who will discuss process; and Joey Feinstein, of Southwest Airlines, who will address company culture.

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