Engineering and construction giant Fluor Corp. said Wednesday that it will close a plant in New Jersey and dismiss 420 workers, completing a yearlong worldwide reduction in manpower that has cut 5,000 jobs.
The Aliso Viejo company plans to close its Marlton plant by July 1, Fluor spokesman Keith Karpe said. About 120 workers losing jobs will be offered positions elsewhere at Fluor, he said.
"We don't have any future layoffs planned for now, but like any company, we're always evaluating our operations around the world and may make appropriate changes as they're called for," Karpe said.
Fluor, now with 50,000 employees worldwide, including 2,500 in Orange County, has saved $100 million to $120 million through the job cuts, he said.
As part of its restructuring, the company shifted its focus to more profitable fast-growing industries such as telecommunications, oil and gas and biotechnology.
The end of the work-force cuts apparently didn't impress Wall Street. Fluor's stock plummeted $7.44 a share--nearly 20%--to close at $30.56 on the New York Stock Exchange. About 2.8 million shares were traded, more than six times the average number traded over the past three months.
H.G. Wellington analyst Wayne Johnson attributed the stock decline to Fluor's concentration on cutting costs rather than gaining new business.
"They've shifted to playing defense, rather than playing more offense," he said.
Fluor grew too quickly in the early to mid-1990s, and the businesses it entered into weren't profitable enough, analysts said. Under Chief Executive Philip Carroll Jr., who began in July 1998, the company has cut about 10% of its work force and refocused its direction.
In the past two years, the company has been hurt by slumping oil prices and recessions in Asia and Latin America, which left customers with little to spend to build refineries and chemical plants. Fluor had sales of $12.4 billion last year and predicts only modest growth this year.
The Marlton plant houses portions of Fluor's life-sciences unit, its accounting and corporate overhead services groups and the firm's oil, gas and power unit.
Some life-sciences employees will be offered jobs in Greenville, S.C., where Fluor is expanding its biotechnology and pharmaceutical operations. An unspecified number of administrative workers will be considered for jobs at other locations, the company said.
Fluor also said it plans to keep some employees from its oil, gas and power division in the Philadelphia area to support refiner Sunoco Inc., a major customer. Others will be considered for transfer to Fluor's power-plant partnership with Duke Energy Corp., Duke/Fluor Daniel in Charlotte, N.C.
On Tuesday, the company reported that it earned $52.3 million, or 69 cents a share, for its fiscal first quarter, ended Jan. 31, compared to $51.1 million, or 68 cents a share, for the same period a year ago. Quarterly revenue fell to $3 billion from $3.4 billion.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.