LOUISVILLE, Ga. --- Ingersoll Rand, the parent company to Thermo King in Louisville, said it will close the plant by the second quarter 2012. It employs 235 people.
"The decision to close the Louisville facility was not an easy decision," said Misty Zelent, the director of external communications with Ingersoll Rand. "It was made in an effort to improve all of the Ingersoll Rand plants and to consolidate manufacturing where it makes sense."
Thermo King makes refrigeration equipment for the transportation industry, including refrigerated semi-trailers and rail box cars.
Zelent said some employees might be offered an opportunity in other company facilities.
Tom Jordan, the executive director of the Development Authority of Jefferson County, said that the announcement is "a powerful blow economic impact-wise."
"This closing represents a devastating loss to the economy of the community and to the families in Jefferson County and surrounding areas," the development authority said in a statement.
"The decision to close the Louisville facility did not reflect on the local work force, the quality of work being produced here or the support of the community. We were assured that the corporation was preparing severance packages for its workers and would be offering transfer opportunities to some of the specialized positions," the authority's statements also said.
The authority was notified Tuesday morning in a conference call with corporate managers. The call included Larry Morgan, the mayor of Louisville, and members of the county administration. Morgan said the closing will affect not just Louisville, but also the county.
"They've been here 47 years, and this is really a big blow," he said. "A lot of people's lives depend on that place."
The manufacturing line will be moved to Thermo King's facility in Hastings, Neb.