Briggs & Stratton announced today several additional actions being taken to execute the Company’s strategy. Beginning in fiscal 2013, the Company will no longer pursue placement of lawn and garden products at national mass retailers. The Engines segment will continue to support lawn and garden equipment OEMs who provide lawn and garden equipment to these retailers. The Products segment will continue to focus on innovative, higher margin products that are sold through our network of Simplicity, Snapper and Ferris dealers and regional retailers. The Company will also continue to sell pressure washers, and portable and standby generators through the U.S. mass retail channel.
Briggs & Stratton also announced that production of horizontal shaft engines currently made in the Auburn, Alabama plant will move to the Company’s existing production facility in Chongqing, China or be sourced from third parties in Southeast Asia. The Company previously moved smaller horizontal shaft engines to the Chongqing, China plant in 2007 where these types of engines can be made more competitively. The Company will continue to manufacture portable generators in Auburn through calendar 2012 and is evaluating alternatives with respect to manufacturing, assembling or sourcing cost effective portable generators beyond 2012. The Auburn plant will continue to produce V-Twin engines used in riding mowers and other outdoor power applications.
In addition to focusing the Products business on the dealer channel and moving certain production out of the Auburn facility, the Company also announced that it intends to reduce its salaried headcount by approximately 10% during fiscal 2012. “While we appear poised for an improved lawn and garden market here in the U.S., our longer term projections of the lawn and garden market in the U.S. and in Europe do not return to the peaks that we saw in 2004 and 2005 for the foreseeable future. We previously announced capacity reductions in our manufacturing facilities and have announced today that certain portions of our current business will not be strategic for us in the future.” said Todd Teske, Chairman, President & CEO. “As a result, we are taking the difficult, but necessary actions, to reduce our salaried support staff as well. While it is very difficult to take these actions, it is necessary to reach our strategic goals and position Briggs & Stratton for success in the future,” stated Teske.
The Company anticipates approximately 250 regular employees will be affected by the Auburn, Alabama facility consolidation. The 10% reduction of the Company’s salaried workforce will affect approximately 210 employees globally.The Company anticipates it will be adding approximately 12 to 15 full time employees at its Menomonee Falls facility after construction is completed. The consolidation of the brand parts distribution center from its McDonough, Georgia facility will result in the loss of approximately 4 regular employees and 65 temporary employees.