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TriMas Reports Record Sales for First Quarter

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based TriMas Corp., parent to industry supplier Cequent Performance Products, announced record revenue for its first quarter, ended March 31, as sales rose 13.5% to $337.8 million from $297.6 million in the year-ago period.

During the first quarter, sales increased in five of the six reportable segments, primarily as a result of additional sales from bolt-on acquisitions, market share gains, new product introductions and geographic expansion as compared to first quarter 2012.

Excluding noncontrolling interests, first-quarter net income was $13.2 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, compared to $12.5 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, during first quarter 2012.

“Our record first quarter sales demonstrates our continued ability to successfully execute on our growth strategies,” said President and CEO David Wathen. “In the midst of an uncertain global economic environment, we continue to identify the bright spots where we believe we can capture growth for our businesses through product innovation, market share gains and geographic expansion.

“Looking forward, our full year 2013 view is essentially unchanged from our previous guidance. We remain committed to TriMas’ ability to outperform the economy, with expected 2013 sales growth of 6% to 8%, as compared to 2012.”

Other highlights from the quarter included:

• Reduced interest expense by more than 50% as compared with first quarter 2012, resulting from a reduction in overall interest rates due to the 2012 redemption of the company’s 9 3/4% senior notes and the refinancing of the credit facilities.

• Completed three additional bolt-on acquisitions year-to-date to expand existing product offerings, gain access to new customers and end markets, expand the geographic footprint internationally, and capitalize on scale and cost efficiencies.

• The company reported operating profit of $23.7 million in first quarter. Operating profit and the related margin percentage were impacted by costs related to recent acquisitions including purchase accounting adjustments, higher costs associated with global growth initiatives, new plant and equipment ramp-up costs and higher costs associated with long-term incentive programs, with the majority of these incremental costs included in selling, general and administrative expenses. The company continued to generate significant savings from capital investments, productivity projects and lean initiatives, which contributed to the funding of growth initiatives.

To view the entire report click here.

 

 

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Cequent Aligns With Keselowski Racing for ’13

March 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Draw-Tite's NASCAR truck

Cequent Performance Products Inc., a leading industry supplier of towing and trailer aftermarket products, will continue its partnership with Brad Keselowski Racing for the 2013 season.

According to a press release, Draw-Tite will sponsor seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races beginning in Charlotte, N.C., on May 17. Bulldog will make its debut at the Texas Motor Speedway on June 7 in its first race ever. Behind the wheel of the BKR No. 19 Ford will be a rotating team of drivers including Brad Keselowski, Joey Lagano and Ross Chastain.
“We’re enthusiastic about our association with BKR Racing,” said Tom Benson, president of Plymouth, Mich.-based Cequent. “We have a strong and mutual interest in NASCAR racing fans.  The opportunity to serve their towing and trailering needs is something we value. We are looking forward to supporting these special customers and BKR in the 2013 racing season.”
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Report: Cequent Workers Accept Closure Deal

February 23, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Cequent workers protest outside the Goshen, Ind., plant

United Steelworkers Local 9550 voted Friday (Feb. 22) to accept what union representatives are calling a retention bonus from Cequent Performance Products, according to a report by the Goshen News. Mike O’Brien, director of United Steelworkers Sub District 4, said the union will not be going to arbitration.

Cequent parent company Trimas Corp. announced in November it would lay off 450 workers at the Goshen, Ind., Cequent plant. Company officials said they were moving the facility’s operations to Reynosa, Mexico, to cut down on shipping costs since it has other plants in Texas and Mexico.

The “retention bonus” amounts to a $3.5 million package with another month of insurance for workers and “a payment of $500 for those on the low end with less than a year in seniority to $36,000 for the top end and it depends on how long the others have been there. They will be paid within that range,” O’Brien said.

Cequent officials plan to close the Goshen plant at the end of this year. The first layoffs were set to take place Friday. The work force will be down to half after July, and the plant will remain open and operating until December.

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Cequent Union Workers Eyeing Vote on Friday

February 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The immediate fate of nearly 350 members of the United Steelworkers at the Cequent Performance Products plant in Goshen, Ind., is in their own hands.

The South Bend Tribune reported that on Friday (Feb. 22), members of USW Local 9550 will vote on whether to accept a closure offer from Cequent, which is moving its plant to Mexico, or reject it and go to arbitration.

If workers reject the offer, an arbitration hearing is slated for April 18-19, according to Mike O’Brien, United Steelworkers Sub District 4 director.

Cequent’s parent Trimas Corp. officially announced in late November it would lay off 450 employees, almost 75% of them union workers. At the time, the company said it was moving its operations to Reynosa, Mexico, to reduce shipping costs since it has other plants in Texas and Mexico.

The company makes parts for the automotive and recreational vehicle industries.

In January, U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. ruled against the union’s attempt to be granted a preliminary injunction that would have prevented Cequent from moving equipment out of its Goshen plant in preparation for its move to Mexico.

However, Miller did affirm a previous ruling that the dispute over the company being able to outsource jobs while laying people off was subject to arbitration.

The company has informed the court that the Goshen facility is not scheduled to close permanently until the end of this year, and that the first layoffs will not occur until Friday. In addition, the company said more than half the employees will remain through the end of June and the remainder will be let go in December.

O’Brien said he won’t try to sway union members either way on the vote.

“There is no such thing as a guarantee,” O’Brien said regarding winning in arbitration. “While we feel confident about our case, we think membership should make that decision, and I am not going to push them one way or the other.”

The union will hold the vote in the Masonic Temple in Goshen, with the results expected sometime between 6 p.m and 7 p.m. Friday.

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Cequent Receives NTP’s Vendor Partner Award

February 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Plymouth, Mich.-based Cequent Performance Products was presented with a 2012 Vendor Partner Award at the 2013 NTP Distribution Tradeshow and Conference last week.

According to a press release, the honor follows last year’s “Vendor of the Year” award and is a reflection of “the mutual respect held by both organizations.” The show was held Feb. 12-15 at the San Diego Convention Center and was the largest event in NTP’s history.

“We are honored to receive this award,” said John Walsh, vice president of sales and marketing for Cequent. “Cequent works hard to maintain great relationships with all of its distributors but it is always very gratifying to receive their appreciation. Working face-to-face with the NTP sales team and the RV dealers who drive our mutual success is a great opportunity to share our new product features and cement a strong start for the coming season.”

Cequent supplies NTP with some of North America’s most recognized brands including Reese, Tekonsha, Bulldog, Bargman, ROLA, Tow Ready and Draw-Tite.

 

 

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Cequent Workers in Court; Lippert Eyeing Plant

January 18, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

When Cequent Performance Products announced plans to close its Goshen, Ind., plant and move the work to Mexico, workers vowed to challenge the move in court.

WNDU TV reported that Thursday  (Jan. 17) those workers had their day in court in U.S. District Court in South Bend.

“I’m really happy and pleased today because I feel that the union has won, we won the right now to go to arbitration,” said President Deb Hathaway of United Steelworkers Local 9550. “And he (the judge) is going to give us his decision next week on whether they’re going to stop them from moving things out of the plant, so I’m actually happy.”

The judge did rule, over the company’s objections, that an arbitrator would hear the union’s claim that Cequent is contractually obligated to keep the plant open.

The judge hopes to rule next week on an injunction request that would prevent Cequent from moving equipment or laying off workers for the duration of the arbitration process.

“Next month we’re going to have 129 people laid off and so that’s why we wanted to get this court date, and get this so that they could stop things, which would mean they would stop the layoff for February,” said Hathaway.

Meantime, attorneys for Cequent warned that any delay in the move to Mexico could do more harm than good for the Goshen community at-large. Cequent has found a company that is interested in sub-leasing the entire plant—once Cequent moves out. Today in court, that company was identified as Lippert Components.

“There is a local company that may be interested in filling that building,” said Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman, who testified at the hearing today. “That’s probably the biggest manufacturing building in Goshen, so it will be good to get it filled, but it won’t be filled with as high paying jobs I think as what we’re losing.”

Mayor Kauffman testified that the loss of Cequent would reduce local income tax revenues by some $330,000 per year.

Thursday’s hearing was five hours long and featured six witnesses, despite the fact that Cequent attorneys had argued that the hearing should not have taken place at all.

Even if the union won every single court battle, that would only keep Cequent in Goshen until the contract expires in March of 2014.

The union hopes that public pressure may force the company to stay in town for the long haul. “And certainly we haven’t abandoned those efforts, nor have we abandoned the efforts of getting the public behind the idea that American jobs are important, moving American jobs offshore so a few greedy people at the top can make more money, is not the American way,” said Michael O’Brien, Sub District Four Director for the United Steelworkers Union.

 

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Cequent Introduces New Line of Reese Hitches

January 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

New fifth-wheel hitch from Reese

Cequent Performance Products launched its newest line of fifth-wheel hitches, the Reese R16 and R20. According to a press release, the hitches are the first to pass the rigorous Society of Automotive Engineer’s (SAE) heavy-duty accelerated cycle criteria J2638 and the 900,000 cycle fatigue and static tests.

Following the debut of the 16,000-pound R16, Reese launched the 20,000-pound R20. To accompany these hitches, Reese also developed new outboard fifth-wheel rail kits with customized installation brackets, as well as a new revitalized Reese Round Tube slider. The Reese R16 and R20 fifth-wheel hitches have a limited lifetime warranty that Cequent provides for all Reese fifth wheels, pin boxes and weight distribution systems.

Some of the key features include:

• New contoured handle offers a customized grip that includes universal control instructions while eliminating separate latch and providing high visibility for system lock and load.

• The premium Reese arch features pin mounting holes that better align with current rail kits, reducing looseness.

• New cast head and jaw system provides commercial durability and strength, improved head funneling for king pin to latch and a patent pending and a highly visible king pin indicator. The cast, double jaw mechanism is designed for longer wear, improved tolerances and eliminating chucking in the jaw system, and offers improved life and wear with added grease points.

• New cast pivot beam incorporates a vibration isolator system for vertical and longitudinal vibration that dampens and improves ride along with wider mounting for better stability and reduced wear. Vertical height adjustment ranges from 14 inches to 18 inches while the head and pivot beam can be offset 1 inch front or rear to maximize performance.

For more information on Reese visit www.ReeseProducts.com.

 

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Newspaper Rips TriMas for Shutdown Handling

November 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following editorial appeared in a recent issue of The Goshen (Ind.) News and concerns the pending layoff of 450 workers at the Cequent Performance Products plant in that city.

Happy Thanksgiving. By the way, you’re fired.

That was essentially the message for roughly 450 employees at Cequent Performance Products in Goshen this past Wednesday afternoon. After weeks of speculation following the haunting recommendation from executives at Cequent’s parent company — TriMas out of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. — to move the Goshen jobs to Mexico, the final decision was officially announced by plant manager Rich Brown during a shift change.

TriMas officials didn’t even have the guts to come down here personally and inform these hard-working employees they were taking away their jobs. They left that dirty little task to a plant manager who had nothing to do with this decision. That’s just disrespectful and cowardly.

What is the message here? Where is the sense of responsibility to community and country? Is money all that matters? What TriMas officials are telling us is that corporate profits matter more than human lives and the prosperity of this nation. That may sound dramatic, but what other rationale is there? Labor is cheaper in Mexico. Many U.S. workers have union protection and living wage standards. In this sad circumstance it is clear that people are numbers and numbers count when it’s time to add up the profits.

We understand the responsibility TriMas has to its shareholders. Maximizing profits is part of that responsibility. But this isn’t a case of a struggling company or industry that has to make cuts in order to continue. Cequent was making TriMas money, according to the company’s latest quarterly report. Obviously it wasn’t enough and 450 people here in Goshen will soon be looking for work. Please excuse us if we take that personally. It feels like a slap in the face to us. We can hardly imagine what it feels like to each Cequent employee who is working to pay the rent, feed their children and even pay their tithes.

Why would executives at TriMas care about any of that? There’s more money to be made south of the boarder (sic) and that trumps all. If we’re wrong about that we’d certainly invite a representative of TriMas to set us straight in this very space, in this community newspaper.

Please, TriMas, we’ll give you all the space you need within reason. Shed that cloak of anonymity and explain to us, eye to eye, how you’re right and we’re not just inadequate numbers on your balance sheet. Tell us how our American values are not detrimental to your corporate math. Please, tell us yourselves, without sending out your plant manager to do it.

 

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TriMas Closing Down Cequent Plant in Goshen

November 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Cequent Performance Products is moving out from its Goshen. Ind. plant and shipping production to a facility in Reynosa, Mexico, parent company TriMas Corp. announced Wednesday (Nov. 21).

As reported by the Elkhart Truth, it was an unwelcome piece of Thanksgiving news for hundreds of employees of the Goshen facility, where they make hitches and structural components for RVs and trailers. The 450 local jobs will end throughout next year, the company announced.

“They told us they made the decision and then they wished us ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’” said Deb Hathaway, vice president of steelworkers local 9550, which represents more than 350 of the 450 affected people.

“It was a very gloomy situation,” she said, and it will loom heavily on hundreds of family Thanksgiving gatherings tomorrow. “We’re all so thankful we just lost our jobs,” Hathaway said.

In a written announcement of the closing, Dave Wathen, president of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based TriMas, said, “While these types of decisions are never easy, we make them with significant consideration.”

He continued, “For those employees affected by the closure, the company is committed to working with them during this transition,” said Wathen.

According to the Elkhart Truth report, it’s been a contentious process since the company announced the possibility of moving the jobs last month. The union representing most of the local employees filed a federal lawsuit against the company, the company started having police come to the plant, and earlier today production stopped due to a bomb threat.

That had workers waiting outside for about 2 1/2 hours, Hathaway said. Then company officials made the announcement just before the end of the first shift. The company did allow second-shift workers to use vacation time to take the afternoon off without forfeiting holiday pay, she said.

At the first of next year, the company will tell workers how they’ll start to eliminate departments. Hathaway expects production to move to a single shift as things ramp down.

Meanwhile, the union continues to fight the move, she said. “We’re still fighting,” hoping to push the move into 2014.

To view the entire story click here.

 

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Report: No Decision Today on Cequent Facility

November 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A spokesman for Michigan-based Cequent Performance Products Inc. said “no decision will be made or announced today (Nov. 19)” regarding a potential move of the company’s Goshen, Ind., operation to Mexico, according to Inside INdiana Business.

The trailer hitch manufacturer employs more than 400 at the Elkhart County plant.

Cequent makes aftermarket towing and trailer products. The company announced a preliminary decision a few weeks ago to move production to Mexico. It had anticipated announcing a final decision by today.

Unionized steelworkers at the plant have a pending suit in federal court if Cequent decides to move.

 

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