Benjamin Moore announced a restructuring program for the company’s U.S. and Canadian operations.

MONTVALE, NJ — Benjamin Moore & Co. announced a restructuring program for the company’s U.S. and Canadian operations, a plan that includes the closing of three manufacturing facilities and one distribution center, and the conversion of four facilities from manufacturing to distribution operations. Three other distribution centers will move to larger facilities, the company said.

The moves could result in a work-force reduction of approximately 300 people, and will cut the number of manufacturing facilities nearly in half, from 15 to eight. The work-force reductions will be implemented in part with an early retirement program, while a “generous severance package” is being offered to other affected employees, said President and COO Yvan Dupuy. Employees also will have the opportunity to apply for other positions and relocate to another company facility, Dupuy said.

The company said the moves are expected to result in pretax savings of approximately $13 million in 2001 and approximately $17 million annually thereafter. The restructuring will result in an estimated first-quarter 2000 pretax charge ranging from $36 million to $43 million, primarily consisting of enhanced benefits associated with the early retirement program, severance, asset write-offs, and decommissioning costs, the company said.

The program, to be implemented over the course of this year, includes the closing of manufacturing plants in Nutley, NJ, and Santa Clara, CA, operated by Moore’s Technical Coatings Co. unit. Manufacturing for Technical Coatings will be consolidated and centralized at a plant in Melrose Park, IL. A Moore plant in Colonial Heights, VA, also will be closed. Manufacturing will be discontinued at plants in Jacksonville, FL; Los Angeles; Toronto; and Aldergrove, British Columbia, with those facilities to be converted to distribution centers. A distribution center in St. Louis will be closed, and distribution centers in Cleveland; Melrose Park, IL; and Newark, NJ, will be moved to new, more modern facilities in the same geographic areas. Following the moves, Moore will operate 21 distribution centers “strategically located” throughout the United States and Canada, the company said.

“The company will emerge from this restructuring a more efficient producer and service provider to its customers,” Dupuy said. “The goal is to improve manufacturing efficiencies, to maintain the consistency of product quality on which our reputation is built, and to enhance the service level, thereby positioning the company for future growth.”