Bausch & Lomb takes Garrett-related charge Lens-plant closing among expenses leading to $3.37 million loss


January 25, 1996|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,SUN STAFF

Bausch & Lomb Inc. paid the price yesterday for closing its Garrett County plant, setting aside millions to pay severance to laid-off workers and booking a $3.37 million loss in the fourth quarter, partly as a result of the planned shutdown.

Bausch & Lomb will spend $17.4 million, after taxes, to finance layoffs and offset the loss it will take on selling one of its corporate planes, said spokeswoman Holly Echols.

The company is closing a sunglass lens plant in Oakland and eliminating about 600 jobs. It also is cutting about 35 management positions at its Rochester, N.Y., headquarters and is converting a Rochester frame-making plant to a factory support center, wiping out 200 more jobs.

Rocked by sluggish sales in some of its key businesses, allegations of irregular bookkeeping and the recent departure of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel E. Gill, Bausch & Lomb is trying to cut costs and make its factories more versatile and efficient.

"Very good progress has been made in addressing issues that have limited Bausch & Lomb's financial performance over the past two years," said William H. Waltrip, the company's new chairman and chief executive. But, he added, "Much remains to be done."

Hurt by trendy, smaller sunglass companies, such as Oakley Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., Bausch & Lomb is buying designer labels of its own and increasing the number of sunglass styles it offers.

The resulting variety will be too complicated to handle in Bausch & Lomb's present system of making sunglass lenses in Maryland and shipping them elsewhere for assembly, managers say.

Instead, they say, the company needs to merge its U.S. operations of lens making, frame making and assembly into one plant in San Antonio.

In Maryland, the company will pay employees severance of two weeks' pay plus a week's pay for every year worked. The maximum payout will be 28 weeks.

Bausch & Lomb had previously disclosed that it would subtract a substantial sum from earnings in its most recent quarter to pay for the restructuring.

For the quarter ended Dec. 30, it lost $3.37 million on revenue of $455.1 million.

Not counting special charges, profit for the quarter rose 70 percent to $21.9 million.

Also during the period, the company set aside $3.6 million for litigation costs and $4.4 million in expenses related to Mr. Gill's departure.

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