December 7, 2018

Stanley: Tariffs, other headwinds mean CT layoffs as part of $250M in cost cuts

PHOTO | Robert Benson Photography
PHOTO | Robert Benson Photography
Stanley Black & Decker's New Britain headquarters.
HBJ File Photo

Citing mounting headwinds from cost inflation and tariffs, New Britain hand- and power-tool maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc. says it has made an unspecified number of layoffs in Connecticut as part of a $250 million cost-cutting plan.

The 175-year-old company in October said its third-quarter profits fell 9.7 percent to $247.8 million despite seeing higher revenues.

The earnings report also confirmed that Stanley was going to create a $250 million cost-reduction plan to "offset 2019 external headwinds," including inflation, foreign exchange and tariffs.

Stanley, as previously reported, said those cost-cutting measures would be completed by year-end.

On Thursday, a Stanley spokeswoman told Hartford Business Journal the manufacturer is not releasing specifics about its cost reductions, including how many layoffs, which have already started, will happen in Connecticut and elsewhere.

The spokeswoman did say "affected employees" will be offered severance, outplacement services and other benefits and that actions would "take place across the organization and business units… ."

As of July 2017, Stanley employed 1,630 Connecticut workers and 54,000 people globally, according to HBJ's 2018 Book of Lists.

Since President Donald J. Trump announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum earlier this year, Connecticut manufacturers have been working to mitigate rising materials costs.

Remedies to combat the additional costs vary depending on company, but some responses include stockpiling key metals, changing ordering strategies, requesting tariff exemptions from the federal government, and diversifying or reshuffling their supplier mix.

Stanley has projected a $35 million tariff impact in 2018.

Gregory Hayes, CEO and chairman of Farmington's United Technologies Corp., recently said the conglomerate's Carrier division has raised prices three times in 2018 to cover additional tariff costs. Hayes says UTC is expected to spend $150 million in additional tariff costs in 2019.

Stanley's Hartford tech center

As Stanley reduces its Connecticut workforce, it is establishing a new collaborative technology laboratory, the Stanley Technology Center, in downtown Hartford at One Constitution Plaza. The 23,000-square-foot office and research and development space was formerly occupied by Connecticut Bank & Trust and its successor, former Fleet Bank.

The second floor space held its first additive manufacturing accelerator this fall. Another accelerator program will be announced shortly, the spokeswoman said. Stanley is equipping the space with equipment over the coming months, she said.

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