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Clarios battery plant to close, 200 jobs gone

Amanda Parrish * Delaware
aparrish@doverpost.com
Dover Post

Clarios, a global supplier of automotive batteries, will close its assembly plant in Middletown in November, affecting about 200 employees, according to a statement from the company.

Known as Johnson Controls until May 2019, the company did not provide a specific reason, but communication manager Aimee Iverson said the decision will help streamline their U.S. manufacturing network.

“The decision to permanently close a plant is not one we made lightly, but we are confident that it is necessary to strengthen our position as a global leader in advanced battery technologies,” she said in a statement.

Iverson said Clarios, which equips about one in three cars worldwide, will keep its Middletown Distribution Center to keep its presence in the northeast region.

“We intend to offer opportunities to affected employees at our Middletown Distribution Center and other locations or, in limited cases where opportunities are not available, we will compensate fairly,” she said.

Middletown Mayor Ken Branner said he received an email earlier this week making him aware of the closing, stating it was explained to him that it was part of an overall business decision modernizing the company’s U.S. operations.

“You never want to see a plant like this close. I feel for the 200 employees who are impacted by this and may have to look for new work.” Branner said.

In a statement May 7, Sen. Tom Carper said he plans to work with Gov. John Carney’s office to help families of employees.

“The news that Middletown’s Clarios battery plant will close this fall is a devastating blow to the employees and their families, and a body blow to the economy of Delaware,” he said. “Unfortunately, this closure, accelerated by COVID-19, is a stark reminder of the economic challenges we are facing.