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Mattel to Eliminate 700 Jobs, Alter N.Y. Fisher-Price Plant

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mattel Inc. announced Wednesday that it will discontinue manufacturing operations at its Fisher-Price plant in Medina, N.Y., eliminating 700 jobs as part of its recent push to cut costs through consolidations.

The El Segundo-based toy manufacturer said it intends at the same time to launch a smaller operation at the plant to produce a new line of outdoor play equipment. The planned operation is expected to retain 250 of the plant’s 950 full-time employees.

Layoffs will begin within the next two weeks.

The cutbacks are part of a worldwide corporate restructuring announced in December, involving the consolidation of manufacturing operations to eliminate excess capacity and reduce headquarters-related expense and support functions.

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Mattel said then that it would cut 1,000 jobs and take a $70-million fourth-quarter charge to combine operations stemming from the recent acquisitions of Fisher-Price and toy makers Kransco of San Francisco and J.W. Spear of Great Britain. The moves are expected to reduce costs by $25 million in the first year, said Mattel spokesman Glenn Bozarth.

“Mattel acquired three companies in just over a year, and although we were consolidating as we went along, the company realized it needed to eliminate plant redundancies,” Bozarth said.

Also this month, Mattel eliminated 75 corporate positions at its headquarters. But Wednesday’s downsizing dealt the greatest blow thus far, trimming by 3.2% the company’s worldwide work force of 22,000 employees.

The remaining job cuts will be announced in the first quarter, Bozarth said.

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“Over the years, Mattel has had a good reputation for making their manufacturing operations more efficient, and for looking to make the company more profitable. I see (the latest restructuring) as a continuation of this effort,” said toy analyst Laurie Lively Smith of Los Angeles-based Seidler Cos.

Mattel also said it added a new plant in Ontario, Calif., to produce its line of outdoor play equipment, with another plant to be added in the Southeast. The Ontario plant resulted in 200 new jobs, and the other new facility will employ 200 to 250 workers.


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