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Darlington loses its bearings plant

01 April, 2003

Darlington loses its bearings plant

The Timken Company, which recently bought its rival bearing-maker Torrington, has announced plans to shut Torrington`s Darlington factory, which employs 104 people. Operations at the site, which produces large cylindrical, spherical and tapered roller bearings, are expected to be phased out over the coming year, and production will be transferred to lower-cost plants including one in Romania.

Timken says the closure is part of a strategy to cut its costs by $120m a year by the end of 2004. The number of people working at the Darlington plant had already been cut twice in the past two years and had fallen by nearly 75% since 1988.

"Darlington has been an important part of the company for nearly four decades," says Michael Hill, vice-president for manufacturing in Timken`s industrial group. "The decision to close it did not come easily and only after careful study. We very much regret the impact this action will have on the lives of our associates who work in Darlington."

• Timken has formed a 50:50 joint venture with NSK to build a plant in China to produce tapered roller bearings. The Timken-NSK Bearings (Suzhou) operation is due to start production next year




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