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Cooper Tools to Stop Making Certain Products, Plans to Lay Off 130

The Cooper Tools division of Houston-based Cooper Industries Ltd. said Thursday it will stop making certain products within its screwdriver bits and socket lines, and will lay off 130 out of 265 employees from its Dayton operation. The Dayton location makes the high-end industrial product line of Apex screwdriver bits and sockets, primarily for automotive and general industry fastening applications, and the Apex universal joint product line serving aerospace and military applications.

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From Dayton Daily News

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DAYTON, OH — The Cooper Tools division of Houston-based Cooper Industries Ltd. said Thursday it will stop making certain products within its screwdriver bits and socket lines, and will lay off 130 out of 265 employees from its Dayton operation.

The Dayton location makes the high-end industrial product line of Apex screwdriver bits and sockets, primarily for automotive and general industry fastening applications, and the Apex universal joint product line serving aerospace and military applications.

The decision does not impact Dayton’s universal joint product line, but mirrors Cooper’s strategy to align the power tools business with the bits and sockets business. Cooper said customer service will be simplified, with only one call needed to place an order, since inventory for high volume items will now be stored at the Cooper Tools headquarters in Lexington, S.C.

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Steve Sisney, group president for Cooper’s Tools and Hardware segment, said increased manufacturing costs are hurting the company.

“Thus it is no longer economically feasible to continue production of these lines with our existing cost structure,” Sisney said.

Cooper Tools officials said they will discuss the layoffs with the United Auto Workers Local 1040, the union that represents the production and maintenance employees at the Dayton facility. The company estimates the layoffs to occur in stages for a year, beginning after Oct. 7.

Shares of Cooper Industries Ltd. closed Thursday at $54.58, down 85 cents. The 52-week range is $44.67 to $59.74.

Copyright 2004 Dayton Daily News. All Rights Reserved.

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