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Thursday, July 24, 2014

City fights to keep Essex

Friday, July 11, 2003

SIKESTON - As the announced August closing nears for Sikeston's Essex plant, city officials are seeking a meeting with company leaders to avoid the loss of some 135 jobs here.

"There have been significant efforts made to try to reason with the people who are making the decisions," said Sikeston Economic Development Director Bill Green, about the closing of the long-time Sikeston industry. "We have requested a meeting and we have pledged to do whatever we can to get the company to stay in place."

In late March, the company announced the closing of the plant, located at 1620 Malone Ave. in Sikeston. Essex Electric produces wire used in the telecommunications business and officials had cited a downturn in the market prompting the closing of the local facility.

The Sikeston plant is one of three similar plants operated as Essex with the other facilities in Florence, Ala., and Anaheim, Calif. In March, company officials said the closing of the Sikeston plant was the only change announced within Essex Electric.

Melanie Hall, vice president of corporate communication for Superior Essex in Fort Wayne, Ind., said Thursday she had not been given any information about a change in the planned closing.

However she noted that production continues at the plant, which now employs 135. "At this time we plan to run the plant through July and will evaluate the situation at that time," Hall said.

Initially company officials had indicated employment numbers would be "ramped down" from the March announcement until the August closing. In March, the plant employed more than 200 salaried and non-salaried workers.

In 1996, Sikeston's Triangle Wire plant was purchased by Essex. Essex was acquired by Superior TeleCom Inc. in 1998 and became one of the world's largest producers of wire and cable.

The local plant is now Essex Electrical Products, which was split off from Superior Essex in December 2002. Part of the Superior Essex Company's other holdings, including Superior TeleCom Inc., Essex International Inc., Essex Group Inc., Superior Essex Realty and Essex Wire Corporation, are among companies seeking reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Essex Electrical Products is not part of that reorganization, officials emphasized.