Bard to close Minnesota plant, eliminating 185 jobs

C.R. Bard ($BCR) will close a catheter-making plant in Stewartville, MN, near the city of Rochester, eliminating 185 jobs. Bard said that the closure will occur by 2017.

"They are unsure of the specific dates at this time, and it could be a phased-out approach during the year here, due to current production commitments," Stewartville City Administrator Bill Schimmel told local news outlet the Post-Bulletin. "They are conducting and working on their company employee meetings at this time, as to their future plans."

Last year, Bard cut 67 jobs from the plant and expanded production at a similar facility in Mexico, but would not confirm that the remainder of the operations are being transferred to that country according to the Post-Bulletin.

If that's the case, the city could be eligible for federal funds to assist the laid-off employees.

The facility opened in 1988. By 2007, annual sales of its catheters topped $30 million, reports the Post-Bulletin.

Bard obtained the facility through its 2013 acquisition of competitor Rochester Medical for $262 million. Founded by brothers Anthony and Philip Conway, the company had annual revenues of $61 million on sales of disposable home-use medical catheters and devices for urological and continence care.

Perhaps the laid-off workers can return to work for the Conway brothers, who have founded Minnesota Medical, a company that manufactures fecal incontinence devices.

"Minnesota Medical will be doing a very small amount of hiring in 2016. If everything goes as planned, we should get our FDA approval by the end of the year," Anthony Conway told the Post-Bulletin. "Then our plans are pretty big. Hopefully, we'll be able to pick up the slack."

The news comes on the heels of word from Abbott ($ABT) that it will close its Silicon Valley vascular devices manufacturing facility during the current quarter, at a cost of 144 jobs.

The U.S. remains the undisputed leader in med tech innovation, but big companies' manufacturing base is increasingly moving abroad, as in other industries.

- read the article in the Post-Bulletin
- here's Bard's statement