Aluminum wheel manufacturer Superior Industries International Inc. announced Wednesday it would close its Arkansas plant by the end of the year as it prepares to open a fourth plant in Mexico next year.
The closure of the plant in Rogers will result in the loss of 500 jobs and leaves the Van Nuys company with just a single U.S. manufacturing plant, in Fayetteville, Ark., and three other plants in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Superior is building a $135 million state of the art plant in Chihuahua, the capital of Chihuahua, a northern state that borders Texas and New Mexico. The company has been there for more than 20 years and expects the plant to open next year.
Superior Chief Executive Don Stebbins said the decision to shutter the Rogers plant came after a review of the company’s cost position in what continues to be a competitive environment.
“Our board and management team remain focused on building an efficient, operationally stronger organization that can compete effectively with manufacturers around the globe,” Stebbins said in a prepared statement.
The company expects to save $15 million in labor costs through the closure. It also values the manufacturing equipment and assets at $22 million. The company did not state whether it plans to sell the assets or transfer some or all to its other plants.
The moves come as the company finds itself in a proxy battle over the makeup of its board of directors. Gamco Asset Management Inc. of Rye, N.Y. wants to put three members on the seven-member board at the Aug. 15 annual meeting.
Shares closed down 16 cents, or a fraction of a percent, to $20.15 on the New York Stock Exchange.