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Whirlpool to Shut Down Machining Facility in Michigan

Laundry products will be manufactured at a plant in Clyde, Ohio.

Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool Corp. said it has decided to close its machining facility in Benton Harbor, following a comprehensive review of asset utilization of the companys laundry manufacturing facilities.

The plant will close in late 2010 or early 2011, eliminating 216 jobs, according to the company. Whirpool noted that its newest, most energy-efficient products will be made at its Clyde, Ohio, manufacturing plant.

Whirlpool Corp.s newest laundry platforms are the most energy- and water-efficient we've ever produced, and these products utilize new and fewer parts, said Al Holaday, vice president, Manufacturing Operations, North America Region. New innovations have eliminated many of the traditional components produced at the Benton Harbor facility. The new streamlined internal components will be machined at the Clyde Division.

The company noted that approximately 30% of its 67,000 employees reside in the United States, and that the companys U.S. manufacturing employment base has increased by 12% over the last year.

Closing a facility is a difficult decision, Holaday said. We are announcing this several months in advance as part of our commitment to make the transition as smooth as possible. We plan to work closely with the local Michigan Works office to assure assistance for these highly skilled and capable individuals to find employment in the local area.

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