MILWAUKEE (AP) — Engine maker Briggs & Stratton Corp. on Thursday said it will close a plant in Tennessee and shift the work to Georgia, eliminating about 690 jobs in the U.S., as it adjusts to a changing market for outdoor equipment.
The company is also closing a plant in the Czech Republic, which will result in 77 job cuts there. It is shifting that work to a Kentucky factory.
Its Poplar Bluff, Missouri, engine plant will also reduce capacity further, after cutting back over the past year, but the company said it does not expect significant employment changes there.
The moves reflect sharp declines in demand for U.S. lawn and garden products. Briggs & Stratton said the market has declined more than 33 percent since 2004.
"This significant and prolonged market decline is unlike any other this industry has seen in decades," said CEO Todd Teske in a release. The actions "will better align our production capacity to the markets we serve."
The Newbern, Tennessee, facility, which manufacturers walk-behind lawn mowers and snow throwers for the U.S. market, will be closed by May 15. The Ostrava, Czech Republic facility, which makes small engines for outdoor power equipment, will end production by March 15.
The changes will save the company $18 million to $20 million a year before taxes, the company estimated.