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Manufacturing giant to temporarily shut down Charlotte facility

James Elrod, a machinist at Siemens, works on a turbine component at the German manufacturer’s Wilkinson Boulevard facility in May 2014. As part of a company-wide cost-cutting measure, German manufacturer Siemens will temporarily shut down its plant in Charlotte in July.
James Elrod, a machinist at Siemens, works on a turbine component at the German manufacturer’s Wilkinson Boulevard facility in May 2014. As part of a company-wide cost-cutting measure, German manufacturer Siemens will temporarily shut down its plant in Charlotte in July. Observer file

As part of a company-wide cost-cutting measure, German manufacturer Siemens will temporarily shut down its plant in Charlotte this summer.

Siemens employs about 1,650 at its facility on Westinghouse Boulevard, where workers make steam turbines and electrical generators for energy firms.

The move is in response to the "ongoing and unprecedented downswing in the market for power generation equipment," the company said. The shutdowns, which will be in Siemens' power and gas division, will take place at the manufacturer's plants across the world during this fiscal quarter.

Based on projected demand, Siemens said it will stagger the shutdowns in Charlotte throughout July. A temporary shutdown is also planned for a "small portion" of the Charlotte site in September. Siemens said the Charlotte facility will not be totally shutdown on any given week during the shutdowns.

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The Charlotte shutdown, Siemens said, will amount to approximately one week of time off per employee, which can be taken as paid vacation or unpaid time off. It is unclear how much the shutdowns are expected to save Siemens, which has its headquarters in Munich.

"The shutdowns are part of a comprehensive package of measures to improve the cost position of (the power and gas division)," Siemens said.

In an earnings call this month, Siemens Chief Financial Officer Ralf Thomas said the power and gas division accounts for 15 percent of the company's total revenue and continues to operate in a "contracting and fiercely competitive market."

Last fall, Siemens said that it will be cutting about 6,900 jobs worldwide, including 1,800 in the U.S., over the next several years to reduce costs. The decision came a month after Siemens laid off “a small number” of workers in Charlotte because of a downturn in the global energy market.



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