Frick parent company sale assessed

August 28, 2005|By RICHARD F. BELISLE


It is unknown what, if any, effect the sale of York International, parent company of York Refrigeration/Frick Co. and one of Waynesboro's oldest manufacturing firms, will have on the local work force.

"We don't know how it's going to bode here," L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, said Friday. "We believe Frick will remain stable based on its product line. It's really too early to tell, but we're cautiously optimistic. It could have a nominal impact in Waynesboro."

Officials at Johnson Controls Inc., an industry giant based in Milwaukee, and at York International in York, Pa., said in a midweek joint announcement that Johnson Controls was buying York International for $3.2 billion.


Johnson Controls makes auto parts and industrial systems. A leader in its field, the company reported sales last year of more than $26.5 billion. The company has 125,000 employees worldwide.

York International is a global supplier of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. It has 24,000 employees, including about 550 in Waynesboro's Frick Co. plant off Cumberland Valley Avenue.

The Frick Co. got its start in Waynesboro in the early 1850s making farm and sawmill equipment.

Ross said York International recently has invested more than $4 million in upgrades at the Waynesboro plant. "That's a significant investment," he said.

"I think there will be a bigger impact at the company's headquarters in York," Ross said. "There's real concern there that the company's international headquarters could be moved to Wisconsin."

Michael Cunningham, director of human resources at Frick, directed press inquiries to officials at York International.

He said Johnson Controls is listed in the top 50 manufacturing companies in the United States.

Officials in York announced the sale Wednesday in a letter to all company employees, including those in Waynesboro.

"By joining forces with JCI, we are staking out a strategic leadership position in the $200 billion global building environment industry," the letter said. "The combined entity will have over 500 offices serving 125 countries around the globe. The two businesses are a natural combination, with strong brands, and similar values and cultures.

"Both YORK and JCI have a long and proud history of innovation and growth in the industry. This combination builds on the success of these two businesses and will bring significant benefits to our employees, customers and shareholders."

The acquisition "signifies the value that all York employees, as a team, have created to build and grow our company," the letter said.

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