Rome, Georgia (US) –Bekaert is working to restore the operations of the production plant in Rome, Georgia, as rapidly as possible. The plant has been temporarily shut down after a fire caused structural damage to part of the site on November 19th, 2014.
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Matthew Taylor, CEO of Bekaert: ‘Our production plant in Rome plays a key role in Bekaert’s overall operational capability in North America. The plant, and the team working there, has the manufacturing and technical expertise and site location that benefit our customers in the tire and high pressure hose industries in the US. Bekaert teams are now working closely with our customers to find ways of meeting their short and medium term supply needs, and to bridge the gap until we are fully operational once more in our Rome operation. We are drawing on the broad capability of the Bekaert Group around the world to help in this endeavor. We recently announced plans to make a significant investment in our Rome plant, to improve our service to the customers, to upgrade our capability, increase capacity and improve competitiveness – despite this recent setback we remain fully committed to that plan, to the investment and to the Rome plant.’
The fire of November 19th damaged the Rome plant’s bead wire lines and the adjacent draw area. First inspection revealed that the roof, walls and equipment in these areas will have to be replaced. The hose wire area, bead wire take-up area, packaging area, and warehouse area remained intact. Bekaert anticipates a restart of limited production activities in these areas in the course of December.
Bekaert also confirms it will rebuild and equip the damaged parts of the manufacturing plant to restore full plant operations in the course of 2015. This includes the implementation of the previously announced new investments.
Everyone at Bekaert was relieved that all employees were evacuated on time and that nobody was injured. Part of the personnel will be engaged in the clean-up and repair works while temporary lay-off will apply to most of the personnel during the reconstruction period of the damaged areas. The management will ensure frequent and transparent communication with all of its employees and the local union leadership, in order to inform them on the status of restoring operations and labor activities.
Bekaert Rome serves US-based tire and high pressure hose manufacturers with steel wire for rubber reinforcement. Bekaert’s sales managers maintain close contact with all customers to ensure a maximum level of continuity of supply in the short-term and mid-term. The company will continue to offer its US-based customers with quality products and services and is implementing a contingency plan to bridge the current supply shortage from the Rome plant. This plan aims at meeting the customer needs with existing stocks or with supplies from Bekaert operations around the globe.
Bekaert (www.bekaert.com) is a world market and technology leader in steel wire transformation and coatings. Bekaert (Euronext Brussels: BEKB) is a global company with headquarters in Belgium, employing 27 000 people worldwide. Serving customers in 120 countries, Bekaert pursues sustainable profitable growth in all its activities and generated combined sales of € 4.1 billion in 2013.
Bekaert is present in North America since the 1950s. Today, the Company employs more than 1600 people in 10 plants and sales offices in the US and Canada. In this region, Bekaert serves a wide variety of steel wire and cord solutions to customers in the tire and automotive components industries, the construction and infrastructure sector, the oil & gas, energy and utilities sectors, agricultural and residential fencing markets, and many more.