ROTHBURY — Barber Steel Foundry Corp., a metal casting plant in Oceana County, will close its doors by the end of the year and eliminate 61 jobs, according to documents filed with the state.
The company is a division of Wabtec Corp., a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based publicly-traded manufacturer of freight and transit rail. Earlier this year, Wabtec completed an $11 billion merger with GE Transportation to become a global leader for rail equipment and services.
The facility in the village of Rothbury, about 25 miles north of Muskegon, will close by December with the majority of layoffs occurring next month, according to the company. The foundry has changed hands several times since the original owner, Kurdziel Iron Foundry, closed in 2009.
“Decisions like this are never easy but will help simplify and optimize the company’s manufacturing footprint in today’s cyclical environment,” Wabtec spokesperson Deia Campanelli said in a statement to MiBiz.
Wabtec generated $4.4 billion in sales in 2018, a 12-percent increase compared to the prior year. The company has approximately 27,000 employees in facilities throughout the world. Earlier this year, Wabtec opened a new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh, N.Y. at a cost of nearly $2.5 million.