Modine to close Illinois plant

Racine-based Modine Manufacturing Co. announced it will close its Ringwood, Ill. manufacturing facility and lay off about 135 full-time employees.

Modine makes thermal management technology and solutions, often for major automotive manufacturers.

The Ringwood plant, which opened in 1961, makes parallel flow and serpentine condensers, oil coolers and radiators for automotive, commercial vehicle, off-highway and building HVAC applications. Its work will be moved to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Lawrenceburg, Tenn. and Jefferson City, Mo.

The closure will take place over 18 months, and affected employees will receive severance benefits. The Illinois Department of Labor and state and local agencies will offer employment assistance and other services.

Modine expects to incur a $2 million fourth quarter charge as a result of the closure to pay out severance and fixed asset impairment charges. Total closure costs will be $5 million, but annual savings will total at least $5 million when it is completed in fiscal 2016.

“Closing operations is never easy,” said Scott Wollenberg, regional vice president – North America. “However, our analysis of Modine’s global product lines and North American manufacturing strategy led us to conclude that the best long-term solution for Modine and its shareholders is to consolidate all North American parallel flow heat exchanger manufacturing into other North American facilities. Closing the (Ringwood) plant will help us rationalize production, maintain the scale we need in our manufacturing operations and improve our overall competitiveness and profitability. We are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible for our customers and to assisting our affected employees during the transition.”

Modine reported $1.4 billion in fiscal 2013 revenues. It has operations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

In 2008, the company settled a lawsuit alleging the Ringwood facility contributed, along with Ringwood’s Rohm and Haas Co. plant, to pollution that resulted in cancer cases in nearby McCullom Lake, Ill. The plaintiffs alleged that the Modine and Rohm and Haas caused 22 brain cancer, nerve cancer and pituitary cancer cases in McCullom Lake by polluting the air and groundwater.

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