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Kimberly-Clark Announces Wisconsin Plant Closures, Still No Word on Corinth

By Josh Mitchell

Corinth Today News Editor

Kimberly-Clark on Wednesday confirmed its plans to close two manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin as part of a Global Restructuring Program.

But there was still no word on whether Kimberly-Clark manufacturing operations in Corinth will be impacted by the three-year restructuring plan. The company plans to reduce its global workforce by up to 5,500 jobs and close or sell about 10 manufacturing facilities.

In Corinth, Kimberly-Clark has about 160 company employees and another 140 contract employees.

Corinth Today on Wednesday asked a Kimberly-Clark spokesman if any information could be released regarding the future of the Corinth facility and received the following response: “Accomplishing the goals of company’s global restructuring program will be challenging, and there are difficult decisions that accompany the program. As announced last week, the company is proposing to exit approximately 10 manufacturing facilities over the next three years across our global footprint. The company will not provide specifics on the status of any of our mills beyond what is detailed in its recent earnings press release, until final decisions are made and announced. The timing of those announcements will be determined by the needs of the business and appropriate consultation and/or negotiations with unions, works councils and other labor stakeholders.”

The company has informed employees and union leadership of plans to close the Kimberly-Clark Neenah, Wisc. Cold Spring Facility, but no specific timing was announced. The company on Wednesday also informed employees at the Neenah Nonwovens Facility of the plan to close that plant within 18 months.

About 600 people work at those two Wisconsin facilities.

“We will continue to be one of the largest employers in the Neenah area, and our North American Consumer business will continue to be headquartered in Neenah,” said Kimberly-Clark spokesman Terry Balluck.

The company noted that, “Business decisions that impact our employees are among the most difficult ones to make — we don’t take such decisions lightly . . . We remain committed to treating our employees fairly and respectfully throughout this process.”

Manufacturing plants that are not closed could see production capacity expanded to “improve overall scale and cost,” A Kimberly-Clark news release stated.

About 10 percent of the company’s mills globally would be impacted by the restructuring. The restructuring “is expected to broadly impact all of the company’s business segments and organizations in each major geography,” the news release said.

The proposed employee reductions represent about 12 to 13 percent of the company’s global employees. Pre-tax cost savings of $500 million to $550 million by the end of 2021 are expected to be generated by the restructuring.

The Dallas, Texas-based company manufactures brands such as Kleenex and Huggies and plans for a 1 to 2 percent increase in net sales in 2018.

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