Originally created 03/03/98

Sunbeam plans consolidation with home, camping brands



MIAMI -- Sunbeam Corp. chairman "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap wasn't saying Monday how many jobs might be cut in the household product company's $1.95 billion takeover of the Coleman, Mr. Coffee and First Alert brands.

But a projected $150 million in savings this year means cuts are coming with the consolidation of the makers of home and camping products.

"We never do anything halfhearted," said Mr. Dunlap, who slashed half of Sunbeam's 12,000-employee workforce and closed nearly three-quarters of its factories and warehouses before hunting for new business. "Sunbeam Corp. is now a powerhouse of brands."

The Sunbeam Outdoor Products plant in Waynesboro, which produced outdoor furniture, was a casualty of Mr. Dunlap's downsizing efforts, having closed its doors for good in November 1996.

The company expects to complete the purchases within two months and take an undisclosed charge to cover costs of restructuring and consolidation. Dunlap added: "I believe that there will be more acquisitions to follow. This is really only the first step."

The target companies -- The Coleman Co., Mr. Coffee parent Signature Brands USA Inc. and First Alert Inc. -- can expect an upheaval, judging by Mr. Dunlap's no-holds-barred approach at Sunbeam and previously at Scott Paper Co.

"They're coming up to our standards. We're certainly not going down to their standards," Mr. Dunlap said.

The future of the other companies' headquarters is uncertain, with Mr. Dunlap saying the acquired companies will join existing Sunbeam units: Coleman becoming part of Sunbeam's grill business, Mr. Coffee joining the appliance business and First Alert joining health and safety products.

Staff Writer Damon Cline contributed to this article.