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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 27, 2008

V’ville plant to focus on U.S. customers
Atlas Copco to cut 42 jobs, 12 percent of local workforce

By Philippa Stasiuk

VOORHEESVILLE — In order to specialize in the gas and process industry, Voorheesville’s largest business will be eliminating 42 of its 364 jobs by the end of 2009. 

Atlas Copco Comptec is part of Atlas Copco Group, a 135-year-old global company based in Stockholm, Sweden with products including compressed air and gas equipment, industrial tools, and assembly systems. 

The School Road factory in Voorheesville makes centrifugal compressors that are used to increase the pressure of gases, including air. The compressors are used in various industries ranging from natural gas processing to renewable energies. 

Company officials announced the layoffs on Monday, Nov. 17, citing plans to outsource unspecified operations occurring at the Voorheesville facility to other Atlas Copco branches in Belgium and China. Vice President of Communications Paul Humphreys said this week that the layoffs “are not a result of the financial crisis.”

He went on, “Being a global company, there’s an opportunity to consolidate parts of business in other parts of the world. The Voorheesville plant works for a few divisions of Atlas Copco. Now it will purely be a gas and process plant.  We are consolidating resources at other plants.” 

Humphreys also stated that the Voorheesville facility’s new focus would be solely on customers in the United States.

A year ago, Atlas Copco Comptec LLC, the formal name for the Voorheesville facility, announced that it planned to invest $8 million dollars to expand and upgrade the facility. As part of a bid to join the Empire Zone program, executives pledged to retain the 314 employees and add another 50 by Jan. 1, 2011.

In exchange for fulfilling these pledges, Empire State Development promised  $700,000 in grants to help with the costs of expansion. As long as the company achieves its head count goals by 2011, the recently announced layoffs will not affect the potential grant money. 

However, when asked this week about reaching the goals laid out by Empire State Development, Peter Wagner, general manager of Atlas Copco Comptec, said, “It depends on feasibility. The grants are based on us reaching certain targets. We will be looking it over in the next couple of months and determining whether those targets are still right for us.” 

Atlas Copco’s quarterly and annual reports confirm that the company’s finances appear to be in robust health.  The compressor sector, which includes the Voorheesville facility, posted an 11-percent revenue growth and a 7-percent growth in orders for the three quarters of 2008 over the same period last year, according to Atlas Copco’s third quarterly report for 2008.

 The plant made headlines in 2008 when the results of its newly-built recirculating cooling tower system showed that it had reduced its 2007 water consumption by 90 percent, or approximately 20 million gallons.

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