ELMORE -- The decline of the telecommunications
industry has pulled Brush Wellman down with it -- and company
officials for the Elmore plant are mum about the future.
The corporation, however, received somewhat good news with the
second-quarter earnings report, released Thursday by parent company
Brush Engineering Materials Inc.
That report showed while the Cleveland-based corporation was
about 22 percent off its sales in the second quarter compared to the
same time last year, numbers did improve from the first quarter
That's somewhat encouraging, especially considering numbers have
steadily climbed since a woeful fourth quarter to end 2001.
So what does it all mean for local Brush Wellman workers at the
Harris Township plant near Elmore?
Unknown, said company spokesman Patrick Carpenter on Friday.
In a statement released Thursday by the company, cost cutting
measures were mentioned as a way to continue to keep Brush
Engineering Materials profitable.
"It's hard to say in terms of the future," Carpenter said. "The
lack of growth is having an impact on Elmore's production level and
Elmore's ability to add orders and production is going to be
dependent on growth in those markets."
"Those" markets include large companies in the electronics, cell
phone and cable business that heavily depend on Elmore's plant to
make copper beryllium strips.
The strips of flat-rolled copper beryllium are used in everything
from switches to components that make up cell phones, pagers,
personal digital assistants, semiconductors and other gadgets.
The telecom and computer industries make up about 42 percent of
Brush Engineering Materials' sales, Carpenter said.
The problem is, after the events of Sept. 11 and the financial
dip the economy suffered, the telecom industry isn't exactly
thriving -- and the picture doesn't look much brighter for the last
half of the year.
"We expect that to be a tough market for the balance of the
year," Carpenter said. "We have not seen the pick-up we anticipate
in the second half."
The dive started last year, and resulted in about 140 layoffs
over a two-month period at the Elmore plant, which specializes in
Since then, the market has started to regroup, and sales have
steadily increased. Brush Wellman posted a gain of 12 percent in
sales from this year's first quarter to the second quarter.
"I am encouraged with the sales growth we experienced during the
second quarter," said Gordon Harnett, president and CEO of Brush
Engineering Materials in a statement released Thursday. "Our cost
and manufacturing initiatives implemented last year are beginning to
improve our bottom line, even at these lower sales volumes."