Altria Shuttering Limerick Plant
The world’s largest tobacco and cigarette producer, Altria Group Inc, which owns well-known cigarette and cigar brands, has announced that it will be shuttering its manufacturing facility in Limerick, Pennsylvania.
The Limerick plant was known for manufacturing pipe tobacco and cigars for the John Middleton brand, which is currently owned by Altria. The plant closure will cause 78 employees to face job cuts.
According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) document filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, the layoffs will be taking place in the first half of September.
The closure of the facility was pre-announced by the company back in October 2016. Altria decided to close the Limerick plant and another cigar manufacturing plant in Illinois in order to streamline its business. Altria hopes to save roughly $50.0 million from the two plant closures by the end of 2018.
The operations of the Limerick plant are being moved to Richmond, Virginia, where Altria Group has its headquarters.
When the cigarette company first announced the plant closure in October, about 280 employees were working at the Limerick plant. It appears that, for now, 78 employees will be laid off while the remaining workers may be moved to the Richmond facility.
The John Middleton brand is more than a century-and-a-half old. Founded in 1856, it is the second-largest producer of machine-made large cigars. The company is known for its “Black & Mild” cigars, which is one of the best-selling machine-made cigars in the world. The company was acquired by Altria in 2007 for $2.9 billion in cash.
John Middleton’s biggest manufacturing facilities were Pennsylvania’s Limerick and King of Prussia locations. When Altria acquired John Middleton, roughly 550 employees were working between the two locations.
After the closure of the Limerick facility, John Middleton will continue to operate at the King of Prussia plant, where 67 workers are currently employed.
Following the announcement of the Limerick plant closure, Altria put the 166,000-square-feet property up for sale.
“Altria to shutter Montgomery County cigar plant,” Philadelphia Business Journal, July 6, 2017.