Grove Worldwide has announced a further round of 290 redundancies at its Shady Grove headquarters in Pennsylvania, USA – its third cull in five months.

In a year marked by the scaling back of its Manlift aerial work platform business Grove’s net losses grew fourfold to $102.6m for the year to 30 September 2000.

The losses included a $53.35 goodwill impairment charge taken in the fourth quarter to write down the value of the Manlift business.

Reporting its results for the year to 30 September 2000, Grove declared net sales of $850.6m, a 7% rise on the previous year’s sales of $793.8m. But the cost of sales rose – in spite of massive expenditure on restructuring in the past three years to secure efficiency improvements – so gross profit fell 15.5% to $124.9m.

The latest redundancies were announced on 19 January, three days after the results were filed, in a memo from chairman and CEO Jeff Bust to employees.

Bust told the workforce: "This action is necessary for Grove to bring the reorganisation of the Manlift aerial work platform business to a point where the manufacturing and support levels are consistent with our current product offerings.

” We are also seeing in North America reduced demands for both cranes and aerial work platforms as well as productivity improvements resulting from our product design and manufacturing process changes This reduction will affect approximately 290 hourly and salaried employees primarily in manufacturing and operations support." Bust continued: "This reduction substantially concludes the restructuring of our Manlift business. We believe this will be the final phase of employment level adjustments at our Shady Grove plant. The positive impacts of the factory flow program are now beginning to be evident in increases in productivity and product quality.

“Additionally, we have made significant gains in the last two years in reducing costs and developing new and innovative products. At the same time, the Manlift segment of the business has been refocused. We have flattened our organisational structure and streamlined our processes. We will continue to fine tune all areas to further improve our performance at all levels."

The redundancies take employee numbers at Shady Grove from about 1,500 to about 1,200.

The latest headcount reduction of 290 follows the lay-off of 140 employees at Shady Grove in October 2000 and 260 in September.

Grove also cut the Shady Grove workforce by 225 in August 1998.

In the UK, 670 jobs went in November 1998 in the UK when the Sunderland manufacturing plant was closed, and 43 more went in October 2000 with the closure of the Bicester facility.

[For Grove results in full, click above right]