Zimmer shutters Austin plant, plots Twin Cities move

Zimmer ($ZMH) is planning to shut down its Austin, TX, spine operation and shift an undisclosed number of the facility's 100 employees to Minnesota in a move designed to "streamline its business," the company said.

As the Austin American-Statesman reports, Zimmer picked up the facility when it bought Abbott Spine for $360 million back in 2008. Now, however, the devicemaker is looking to consolidate in Minnesota's device hub, and, as the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal points out, it has an office in Edina, MN, and a 51,000-square-foot building in the Twin Cities.

Zimmer told the Statesman it plans to complete the consolidation by July, and the company didn't specify how many of the 100 Austin workers will receive offers to transfer north.

The Warsaw, IN, company is staring down flat sales of late, citing overseas struggles with its hip and knee devices that led the company to lower its 2012 guidance last quarter. Zimmer now expects 2% growth on the year, below earlier projections of 2.5% to 3.5%. The company has yet to release its fourth-quarter or full-year results.

In an effort to cut costs, Zimmer has announced a plan to save about $60 million by slashing 450 jobs through this year, but the devicemaker is still expecting to take a heavy hit from the now-in-effect medical device tax.

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