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Whirlpool To Consolidate Refrigeration Production

Whirlpool will shut its refrigerator production facilities in LaVergne, Tenn., and Reynosa, Mexico, later this year.

Production of built-in refrigerators currently manufactured at the LaVergne facility will be moved to the company’s factories in Fort Smith, Ark., and production of side-by-side refrigerators made at Reynosa will shift to Whirlpool’s facility in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

The changes are part of an ongoing, worldwide effort to optimize the company’s regional manufacturing facilities, supply base, product platforms and technology resources, Whirlpool said, and will provide increased manufacturing efficiencies in its refrigeration business by leveraging the size and scale of its Fort Smith and Ramos Arizpe facilities. The moves will allow for “refreshed product designs that will bring new innovations and features to consumers,” the company said.

At LaVergne, approximately 500 jobs will be eliminated, while at Reynosa, an estimated 750 jobs will be affected. The Fort Smith plant expects to add approximately 275 jobs by December 2008, and the Ramos Arizpe facility plans to add an estimated 600 employees by midyear.

The restructuring is expected to cost upward of $20 million.