Wisconsin Manufacturing News

Some production to resume at Chrysler plant in Kenosha; Actuant lost $17.6 million in quarter; Carmex rolls out new premium lip balm

Some production to resume at Chrysler plant in Kenosha

Some production will resume this week at the Chrysler Group LLC engine plant in Kenosha, which has been idle since May 4

Seven of Chrysler’s vehicle assembly plants are set to open by Monday, June 29. All of the engine production and stamping facilities that support those plants are set to reopen at the same time, Chrysler officials said. All of the company’s assembly and production facilities were shut down on May 4 after the company filed for bankruptcy in late April.

Chrysler spokeswoman Diana Gutierrez said the company was unable to provide numbers of employees that will be returning to work when the Kenosha plant reopens.

"We aren’t releasing specific details," she said. "But some (facilities) will start slower than others."

All of Chrysler’s facilities are scheduled for a two-week shutdown during the weeks of July 13 and July 20, Gutierrez said. Normal production should resume after that point.

The Kenosha plant is currently targeted for permanent shutdown in December 2010. Some media outlets have reported that Fiat, Chrysler’s new owner, may keep the plant open.

"We can’t comment on any business talks that are ongoing," Gutierrez said.

Actuant lost $17.6 million in quarter

Butler-based Actuant Corp. reported a fiscal third quarter net loss of $17.6 million, or 31 cents per share, compared with net earnings of $38.6 million, or 60 cents, in the same period a year ago.

Sales for the quarter declined 35 percent to $290 million from 445 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Results for the third quarter of 2009 include the previously announced $31.7 million pre-tax non-cash asset impairment charge related to the company’s "harsh environment electrical product line," as well as restructuring charges of $12.2 million.

Robert Arzbaecher, chairman and chief executive officer of Actuant, said, "While the third quarter proved to be more challenging than we anticipated, I am pleased with the response of our leadership team and employees in delivering strong cash flow and executing our aggressive restructuring initiatives."

Looking forward, Arzbaecher said, "As we move into the fourth quarter, we are encouraged that revenues have begun to stabilize in several of our end markets and that improved consumer confidence, higher oil prices and global stimulus investments could benefit the Actuant businesses. However, we are attempting to be realistic in our expectations that global economic conditions, including higher unemployment and lagging European demand, will constrain growth in the near term. As such, we plan to continue to aggressively execute restructuring and cost reduction actions which we estimate will reduce fourth quarter pre-tax earnings by approximately $5 million."

Carmex rolls out new premium lip balm

Carma Laboratories Inc., the Franklin-based maker of Carmex lip balm products, recently introduced its first new product line in 70 years.

Carmex Moisture Plus is marketed as a ultra-hydrating lip balm. The premium lip balm includes vitamin E, aloe, shea butter and avocado butter, and provides a hint of gloss and a SPF 15 rating.

Carma Labs president Paul Woelbing said, "For 70 years, Carmex has consistently performed for retailers and our loyal consumers. It made sense to introduce Carmex Moisture Plus to build on this strength of the trusted Carmex brand and the evolving needs of our consumers."


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