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US - Auto loan firm laying off 45

Semperian LLC, which services loans for General Motors Acceptance Corp., said Monday it is laying off 45 employees, or about 13 percent of its Knoxville work force, effective Dec. 31.

This will leave about 300 employees at the company's call center at 2420 Cherhala Blvd. in the Pellissippi Corporate center, said Mike Stoller, spokesman for GMAC, parent company for Semperian.

"This is part of an ongoing effort over the last year to reduce costs and gain efficiencies," he said.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development also announced Monday it has received notices from Huddle House, which closed a restaurant in Oneida, Tenn., laying off 21 people; and from ThyssenKrupp Waupaca, which is closing its foundry in Etowah, Tenn., eliminating 264 jobs. ThyssenKrupp Waupaca announced earlier this year it would close the plant.

Semperian's Knoxville office, which opened in 2002, provides collection and customer support services for GMAC's low- and medium-risk loan collection activities, plus accounting and other services.

Asked if the layoffs were connected to the troubles in the automotive industry, Stoller said they were instead part of a general cost-cutting program GMAC has in place across the country.

"We have done some reductions of staff across all of our facilities," he said.

Semperian also has locations in Oregon, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, Arizona, Missouri, Michigan, North Carolina and Connecticut.

ThyssenKrupp Waupaca notified the state that it was closing its foundry at 134 Waupaca Drive in Etowah effective Dec. 31. However, when the company announced in September that it was closing the foundry it said about half of the foundry work force would be offered jobs at other plants.

McMinn County officials said at the time that the company intended to mothball the plant so it could be re-opened if the economy improves.

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