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Oshkosh: JLG factory jobs in good shape

October 17, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - The Wisconsin-based vehicle manufacturer that bought Jerr-Dan Corp. in 2004 on Monday officially announced plans to acquire JLG Industries in a $3.2 billion cash deal that a spokeswoman promised won't affect most area workers.

Oshkosh Truck Corp. officials said they anticipate JLG, a global manufacturer of aerial work platforms and telehandlers, will represent 40 percent of combined sales and income by 2008.

The 37-year-old McConnellsburg manufacturing site employs about 2,000 people, JLG Corporate Communications Director Michelle Hards said. JLG also has executive offices in Hagerstown and a manufacturing plant in Shippensburg, Pa., she said.

"We don't see any reductions in the factory work force," Oshkosh Marketing Communications Vice President Kirsten Skyba said. "Bottom line, the jobs are in good shape."

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Since acquired by Oshkosh for $80 million in June 2004, Jerr-Dan Corp. of Greencastle, Pa., has expanded its employment base as well as increased sales and production, Skyba said.

"We think JLG has an excellent work force," she said. "It's the work force that has built this company."

Those employees learned about the acquisition Monday morning through a Webcast and should anticipate meetings with JLG CEO William M. Lasky, Skyba said.

The two businesses fit well together because Oshkosh, which produces specialty vehicles, has products like firetrucks that use lifts and ladders, according to Skyba.

"We've got a lot of experience with trucks with aerial access," she said.

"McConnellsburg is pretty much where they make the work platforms and aerial lifts. ... We're definitely a strong local company for this area," Hards said.

FORTUNE magazine ranked JLG 22nd on its list of the 100 fastest-growing companies this year.

JLG reported $2.3 billion in revenues during the 2006 fiscal year and projects a sales increase of 20 to 25 percent in the 2007 fiscal year, according to the acquisition press release.

Each company's board of directors approved the acquisition, officials said.

Investors have been wanting Oshkosh to diversify for a while, said Walter S. Liptak, an analyst with Chicago-based Barrington Research Associates. The purchase will certainly increase Oshkosh's revenue, especially as the construction industry is rising, he said.

Oshkosh already has 9,400 employees and will be adding JLG's 4,000, it said. JLG, which also makes Caterpillar-branded telehandlers, has manufacturing plants in the U.S., Belgium and France.

Lasky said the company was not for sale when Oshkosh approached them.

"To be honest, I was hoping to find a reason why I didn't think it would be a good fit for JLG. Unfortunately, that didn't last very long when I looked at the success and track record of Oshkosh," Lasky said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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