Federal Mogul's planned foundry expansion in Sparta will preserve jobs

by Ron Cammel | The Grand Rapids Press

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SPARTA -- Federal Mogul Corp. plans a $3.7 million expansion at its foundry..
Though the project will generate only a handful of new jobs, the good news for the village may be that the plant at 200 Maple St. stays put.

"Keeping the employment in Sparta is huge," said Village Manager Sharon DeLange. "We've heard rumors for a long time that they might be pulling out."
The plant, which employs 179 workers, will bring in two new lines of equipment to expand its manufacture of piston rings.

Some of that work was formerly outsourced or performed at Federal Mogul plants in other states.
The Village Council approved an industrial facilities tax exemption at 50 percent for 12 years on the new personal property. The expansion does not include any construction.
The plant expects to hire about five new workers within two years because of the expansion. But a spokesperson for the Southfield-based company said the expansion was not meant to create jobs, but to preserve existing jobs.

Piston rings are a major portion of the company's manufacturing, which includes products for automotive, engine, marine, railroad, aerospace and industrial markets worldwide.
Though Federal Mogul's sales are down from last year, company officials reported that second-quarter sales of $1.3 billion this year -- a $66 million increase over the first quarter -- brought in a profit.
A Federal Mogul plant in Greenville employs 332 workers.

In trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq, Federal Mogul stock closed at $14.73 per share, up 3 cents.