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Grove could see increase in workload

August 11, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

SHADY GROVE, Pa. - The decision by Grove Worldwide to close its crane and aerial manlift manufacturing plant in England at the end of the year could bring some work to the corporation's plant in Shady Grove, a company spokesman said Monday.

Also affected by the closing of Grove's Crown Works facility in Sunderland, England, will be 670 manufacturing jobs, according to a press release from Grove.

The plant stopped making cranes in June, according to company officials. The Manlift operation will be phased out by the end of the year and the work will be shifted to other Grove plants worldwide, officials said.

Some may come to Shady Grove, said Robert Kannel, manager of communications there.

Kannel said Grove bought the former Cole Crane Co., in England in 1984.

The decision to close what became the Crown Works plant was based on its financial performance, according to the release. Global pricing pressures, currency fluctuation and manufacturing inefficiency also were factors, according to the release. Earnings fell below expectations over a six-year period, Grove officials said.

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"We regret the impact this action will have on Sunderland employees," said Sam Bonanno, chairman and chief executive officer of Grove Worldwide in a prepared statement.

"The decision was made only after all options had been considered. It is absolutely necessary that we take steps now to maintain Grove's market share and strengthen our future by focusing on improvements that make us more cost-effective. This will help ensure the long-range security for the vast majority of Grove employees," Bonanno said in the release.

Manufacturing plants in Germany and France will not be affected by the Sunderland closing, Kannel said.

Grove Europe's sales, marketing and customer support personnel who service customers in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East also will be unaffected, company officials said.

In April, Grove announced that it landed a Department of Defense contract for up to 450 all-terrain mobile cranes. The contract could reach $120 million.

Grove hired an additional 120 workers in April to meet the demands of the government contract and those of its private customers, officials said at the time.

The company has more than 2,500 employees.

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