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Forum staff report, Published January 05 2009

DMI plans 20 percent cut in workforce

UPDATED 1:41 p.m.

WEST FARGO - Wind tower producer DMI Industries of West Fargo announced late this morning that it is cutting 20 percent of its workforce at three locations – including locally.

The cuts are the result of declining demand as difficult credit conditions impact the ability wind energy developers to secure project funding, according to a news release issued today by the company.

“We remain committed to the wind energy market and have confidence in its outlook for the future,” DMI president Stefan Nilsson said in the news release. “Nevertheless, we are required to make the reductions at this time in light of the downturn for wind farm projects, which we expect to last through this year.”

DMI didn’t specify how many cuts were to take place at its West Fargo, Tulsa, Okla., and Fort Erie, Ont.

In the release, Nilsson said efforts are focused on minimizing the impact to customers and employees.

Despite the cuts, DMI employs 150 more workers than this time last year. The company employs more than 750 employees at its three production facilities and its Oklahoma plant is in full operation, the company said.

Last spring, DMI announced it planned to add 50 to 75 employees at its West Fargo plant as part of a $20 million expansion that would boost wind tower production by 40 percent.

At the time, the West Fargo plant employed 350 people.

An expansion project also was planned at the Tulsa plant.

The expansion projects would make DMI the largest wind tower manufacturer in North America, a news release said at the time.

The West Fargo site expansion, the first phase of a strategic development plan for the facility, aimed to streamline production through improvements in layout and productivity.

Check back to www.inforum.com for updates and read more Tuesday in The Forum.