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Imation trying to sell W.Va. plant

March 31, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

MIDDLEWAY, W.Va. - Imation Corp. wants to sell its metal printing plate manufacturing plant in Middleway and will close the plant at the end of the year if a buyer cannot be found, company officials announced Monday.

The company is offering voluntary separation packages to up to 72 of the plant's 182 employees, officials said.

The plant operated under the 3M name for 35 years, but in July 1996 began operations as Imation, specializing in computer-related equipment for the printing industry and other fields, company officials said.

The company plans to outsource manufacturing of its metal printing plates to focus more on color proofing, color management and computer software for the graphic arts market, company officials said in a prepared statement.

"While our plans are to discontinue manufacturing metal printing plates, we intend to take every step we can to sell the Middleway facility as an ongoing operation to a qualified buyer," said Larry Doris, plant manager of Imation's Middleway facility.

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"However, should we be unable to complete negotiations with a suitable buyer before the end of 1998, we will make the difficult decision to close Imation's operations," Doris said in the statement. "While decisions such as this are never easy, we are committed to supporting our employees through this transition and ensuring that our customers continue to have access to metal printing plates and related products."

Jane Peters, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, said the county and the state will work with the company to try to find a buyer for the plant.

Peters said the state has programs to retain jobs as well as bring in new employers.

She said the decision announced Monday came as a surprise.

In addition to the voluntary separation and early retirement programs, the company is offering employee assistance, financial counseling and career counseling, company officials said.

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