156 to lose jobs when cabinet maker closes Perry County plant

American Woodmark says it will shutter factory in spring

ssloan@herald-leader.comDecember 15, 2011 

Major Perry County employer American Woodmark plans to close its plant, which produces parts for kitchen and bathroom cabinets, next spring. It's part of a series of moves the company, based in Winchester, Va., is making, including closing a plant in West Virginia, to combat a downturn stemming from the economy's struggles.

The plant in Chavies employs 156 and was established in 2002, according to the state Cabinet for Economic Development. All employees will be offered severance packages, American Woodmark spokesman Rick Hardy said in a statement.

"The housing sector remains mired in a slump driven by low consumer confidence," American Woodmark CEO Kent Guichard said in a statement.

The Chavies plant dries lumber and cuts it to size, and produces component parts for other Woodmark plants. The parts are used to assemble cabinet doors, drawers and frames, Hardy said. The work will be moved to other facilities.

"The company has excess capacity in our lumber and dimension operations," Guichard said, noting the plant "was selected for closure due to a variety of factors including access to lumber supply, flexibility and logistics costs."

American Woodmark also plans to close a components plant in Hardy County, W.Va. The company also has put up for sale an Oklahoma factory that it idled in early 2009.

The moves come after the company announced its fiscal second-quarter results last month and disclosed it lost $2.98 million in the quarter. That was an improvement, though, over a $7.38 million loss in the second quarter of 2010. The company has posted annual losses in each of the past three fiscal years, with a loss of $20 million in its 2011 fiscal year, $22.3 million in its 2010 fiscal year and $3.2 million in its 2009 fiscal year.

Shares of American Woodmark (NASDAQ: AMWD) closed Wednesday at $12.08, up 86 cents, or 8 percent.

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