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March 19. 2014 9:33PM

Osram Sylvania to shutter Manchester plant, lay off 139

MANCHESTER ­— One of the state's largest manufacturing employers, Osram Sylvania, is closing its Manchester operation and laying off 139 employees.

The move is part of a restructuring of the company due to declining sales for traditional lighting products, according to company spokesperson Anne Guertin.

Osram will also be closing operations at its Central Falls, R.I., plant and in York, Pa., for a total of 345 hourly and salaried employees.

The closures and layoffs take effect in September.

"The closure of the three plants is part of Osram's previously announced global realignment toward solid state lighting," said Guertin. "The decision to close the plants is a difficult but necessary step in order to focus resources on developing a comprehensive solid-state lighting portfolio that best meets the needs of the market and ensures future growth."

Guertin cited the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which phases out incandescent lighting and requires the use of more energy-efficient fluorescent lighting.

"Osram is responding to a fundamentally changing market that is moving toward solid state lighting per legislative requirements," she said.

In March of last year, the company announced it was eliminating 49 positions at its Manchester plant, 655 South Willow St., citing the consumer shift toward LED and the decline in incandescent technology.

The company also has locations in Hillsborough and Exeter in New Hampshire. With approximately 1,000 employees across the three locations, it is among the top five manufacturing employers in the state.

While the company is shedding employees at sites that focused on incandescent technology, it is adding elsewhere.

Work at the Hillsborough plant was recently cited in an automotive web site called 3d-cars-shows.com, regarding the LED technology on the Ford F-150 pickup truck.

"The program is creating more than 30 jobs at the OSRAM Hillsborough, N.H., facility," the site reported.

Gov. Maggie Hassan said she has directed state officials to provide all possible assistance to workers affected by the closure.

"Our Rapid Response Team, with representatives from across state government, will coordinate directly with the company to help connect workers to new employment opportunities and to ensure that they and their families have access to the resources and assistance they need," she said.

Commissioner of New Hampshire Employment Security George Copadis said the Rapid Response Team, coordinated through the Department of Resources and Economic Development, would be organizing a job fair, "to get these people back to work."

A job fair in Manchester on Wednesday attracted 75 employers offering more than 600 jobs, he said, with approximately 400 applicants.

With the unemployment rate dipping to 4.7 percent as of the end of February, the unemployed workers will be entering the best job market in New Hampshire since before the Great Recession started in 2008.

Osram, headquartered in Munich, Germany, has more than 35,000 employees and 53 production plants in 18 countries around the world.

dsolomon@unionleader.com



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