Tulsa Business Staff
DMI Industries is laying off 50 people at its Catoosa facility, the result of declining demand as difficult credit conditions impact the ability of wind energy developers to secure needed project financing.
Employees being laid off were notified Monday. They are receiving assistance from DMI with benefits and compensation through the transition. The company declined to give details about the plan.
“We remain committed to the wind energy market and have confidence in its outlook for the future,” said DMI president Stefan Nilsson. “Nevertheless, we are required to make the reductions at this time in light of the downturn for wind farm projects, which we expect to last through this year.”
DMI launched the Catoosa facility a year ago with about 65 workers.
While the Catoosa reductions affect 50 workers; the DMI facility begins 2009 with about 135 more workers than at the beginning of 2008, said Belinda Forknell, spokeswoman. The plant, which remains fully operational, has a total workforce of more than 215 employees.
“Where we had been building up our capacities to meet projected increases in 2009 volumes, we now expect overall production levels for DMI this year to be slightly lower than in 2008,” said Nilsson. Through last fall the outlook for the wind energy industry was that of continued, significant growth for the year ahead. Now, although estimates vary, 2009 projections for installed megawatts are 25 to 35 percent lower than those for 2008.
“Today’s actions are very unfortunate but necessary at this time. The weaker outlook means a short-term step backward, but the actions taken now will help DMI maintain its competitiveness and productivity in all three facilities, and ensure the company remains well-positioned for continued growth and profitability,” said Nilsson.
Efforts are focused on minimizing the impact to customers and employees, he said.
Companywide, DMI begins the year more than 150 workers ahead of last year at this time. DMI employs more than 750 employees at its three production facilities.