[caption id="attachment_208522" align="aligncenter" width="2560"]IKO will shut down its Edgemoor manufacturing plant this year and lay off 67 workers, the company reported. | DBT PHOTO BY MIKE ROCHELEAU[/caption]
EDGEMOOR – IKO, an international roofing material manufacturer, will close its Hay Road plant and lay off 67 workers this year after determining that the aging shingle production facility was too costly to continue to operate.The plant, located off Interstate 495 along the Delaware River northeast of Wilmington, filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice with the Delaware Department of Labor regarding the job losses on Jan. 12.IKO, a 70-year-old international company founded in Ontario, Canada, produces an array of roofing materials from shingles to waterproof membranes. Still owned by the Koschitzky family, IKO is a vertical-integrated company, meaning it controls all of its operations from raw materials to sales.Employing more than 3,500 people in 25 global manufacturing plants, it is among the world’s largest exporters of asphalt shingles, shipping to 96 countries.
[caption id="attachment_208524" align="alignright" width="500"]The IKO plant near Wilmington has been in operation for about 40 years. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE[/caption]
The Edgemoor plant is the oldest facility in the United States for IKO, which opened the location in 1981 after acquiring it from a competitor. It has produced the asphalt shingles that commonly top residential homes for decades.Derek Fee, a spokesman for IKO, said the decision to decommission the Delaware plant was reached late last year after exploring its options for several years.“The plant has not been profitable, and it's been a while coming to this pass. We looked at all of the available options for the site to determine what made the most sense before we arrived at this decision,” he told Delaware Business Times.Fee explained that the Edgemoor plant was the farthest afield from its supply sites, creating additional transportation costs, and that its aging production only allowed for two-shingle-wide production lines when most plants nowadays produce four.“Logistically, it was a plant that was more expensive to operate and to service. In addition, it is the oldest and smallest of our manufacturing sites,” he said.Fee noted that two other manufacturing plants in Ohio and Illinois that were part of IKO’s original American acquisition in the ‘80s were decommissioned in the last two decades and replaced with modern plants. A new production plant under construction in the Toronto area is expected to pick up output from both a former plant there decommissioned in recent years as well as the decommissioned Edgemoor plant, Fee added.The company plans to continue operations at Edgemoor through the first quarter, subject to arrangements with its workforce represented by the United Steelworkers union. Some will likely remain in place over the coming year as they decommission and move equipment as well, Fee said.Even after the plant is shut down, IKO will continue to have a small presence in the Wilmington area as its U.S. corporate headquarters operates out of a Denny Road office complex not far from the plant.