Ceradyne shuttering French plant

Body-armor manufacturer Ceradyne, which has plants in Lexington, said Tuesday it plans to close its manufacturing plant in Bazet, France, in a quest to cut costs.

California-based Ceradyne said it will transfer the Bazet plant's industrial ceramics production to a plant in Kempten, Germany. That portion of the company produces ceramics that end up as part of new construction projects, which have slowed considerably since the recession began.

Ceradyne plans to close the plant by the end of the year and cut its 95-person work force. The company noted the possibility of that during its earnings report in April, saying then that it has cut its U.S. work force by 33 percent since the start of 2008. In Lexington, it has laid off 125 temporary and full-time workers, reducing its head count to 200.

The company said the French plant's closing and severance packages will cost between $11 million and $13 million. It expects the majority of these charges to be accrued during the second quarter.