ESAB to restructure Florence, S.C., manufacturing operations

July 14, 2009

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products announced today that it is restructuring its Florence, S.C., manufacturing operations to advance a global approach to supplying product and customer support. While the changes outlined today affect the company's employee base in Florence, the company wants to reinforce to its customers that its commitment to the North American market remains as strong and firm as ever, and they will not be adversely affected by the new manufacturing strategy.

The following changes are anticipated to be in place by the end of 2009:

The manufacture of gantry cutting machines, arc equipment and plasma power supplies will be transitioned to other global factories.

The company's North American headquarters in Florence will remain the global "center of excellence" for the plasma cutting technology business. This includes the research and development of plasma processes, the production of plasma systems, and the manufacture of torches and consumables for sale to the rest of the ESAB Global Group, as well as to North American customers.

In addition, the Florence facility will continue to manufacture and sell Steel Industry Products, gas apparatus equipment, and consumables. Mechanized cutting machine technology in North America will continue to be marketed and supported with a service and aftermarket organization based in Florence.

The Florence facility will continue to provide centralized services, including customer service, marketing, accounting, human resources, IT, and supply chain for North America.

All other facilities in North America, including Hanover, Pa.; Ashtabula, Ohio; Traverse City, Mich.; and all locations in Canada and Mexico, along with all North American service and distribution centers are unaffected by the changes at the Florence facility.

Brendan Colgan, president and CEO, stated, "We are continuing to be cautious about the economic outlook and are therefore moving forward with re-engineering efforts to optimize our manufacturing base and focus our product offerings to truly support our customers. ESAB is financially strong, and we believe these efforts will put us in a better position to remain profitable and free up additional resources that will be reinvested in the business to make sure we can take competitive advantage of opportunities as the economy recovers."

According to ESAB, the goal of the restructuring plan is to focus the company's efforts on best practices in manufacturing to highlight its expertise and quality while encouraging growth. By providing a global approach to product manufacture and performance, ESAB will be better positioned to achieve its goal to be recognized as the world's welding & cutting authority. Colgan said, "We are fully committed to the North American market, which represents about a quarter of ESAB's global revenue. We will continue to honor our commitments and support our current customer base. We will, in fact, be better equipped to do this, as we redefine our management and logistical operations to better serve our customers and their future needs."

The new operating model is intended to maximize the strengths of ESAB's global reach to provide technology solutions. At the same time, customer service will be provided locally and regionally, to support the company's commitment to provide quality product, on time and at competitive prices, the company says. It will continue to provide welding and cutting systems ranging from turnkey applications to standard products and service.