Nokia to close Fort Worth plant, lay off 300 U.S. workers

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FORT WORTH, Texas Nokia Corp. will close a facility that repaired and distributed cellular phones and lay off 300 of the plant’s 450 workers, ending the company’s U.S. production.

Nokia spokesman Charles Chopp said Friday that the layoffs will start Dec. 10 and continue through the first quarter of next year. He said about 150 transition and management employees will move to the Dallas suburb of Irving, where the Finnish phone giant has its U.S. headquarters.

Chopp said the plant will be put up for sale next spring.

Employment at the plant has been sliding since Nokia opened a factory in Reynoso, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande from McAllen.

Chopp said the Fort Worth plant is currently used to repair phones for customers in North America and to take quick-fill orders. Nokia will send its repair work to a Jabil factory in Mexico and will use another supplier, whom it won’t identify, to handle quick-fill orders, he said.

Nokia began making phones in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1992 in a joint venture with the predecessor of RadioShack Corp.

Three years later, Nokia opened the plant in Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport industrial park, and the plant had 3,800 workers there in 2000 before Nokia built a plant in Mexico. Nokia’s tax incentives to build the plant expired last year.

Chopp said the 447,000-square-foot (40,230-square-meter) plant and surrounding 60 acres (24 hectares) was too big to keep a work force of 450. He said it will cost less to close the facility and send the work to other companies.

Nokia will manufacture all its phones for North America at the plant in Reynoso, he said. Nokia has nine other manufacturing plants in eight countries.



EditorNokia to close Fort Worth plant, lay off 300 U.S. workers