Walter Energy Closes Fiber Plant, Ramps Up Coke Plant

Mon, 12/14/2009 - 11:09am

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Walter Energy Inc. said Friday it plans to close an Alabama fiber plant effective immediately, eliminating 87 jobs, after the business struggled during the recession.

More than half the employees are expected to receive jobs at Walter Energy's coke plant in Birmingham, which will resume full production in the first quarter of 2010, the company said.

It will take a charge of $5.5 million to $6 million in the fourth quarter as a result of the closure.

The fiber plant produced about 100,000 tons of slag wool fiber products a year, which are used in acoustical ceiling tiles, fireproof cement and other insulation applications.

Walter Energy CEO Victor P. Patrick said the plant did not fit the company's core businesses. Walter Energy's coke produces metallurgical, or coking, coal for use in steel production.

Shares of Walter Energy rose $1.30 to close Friday at $71.79.



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