Ceramic Industry

Florida Tile to Close Lakeland Manufacturing Plant

November 24, 2003

Citing several years of significant decline in the demand and sales of conventional commodity wall tile and trim, Florida Tile Industries has announced the planned closure and consolidation of its Lakeland, Fla., manufacturing plant, one of three manufacturing facilities the company operates. The move will begin in January 2004 and be completed by approximately the middle of the year. The decision affects 127 manufacturing jobs, with some selected positions to have the opportunity to relocate to the company's remaining plants in Lawrenceburg, Ky., or Shannon, Ga. Sixty two corporate positions, including executive and most other customer support positions, will remain in Lakeland. "Over the last decade or so, consumer and builder preference has shifted away from basic wall tile and trim to more fashionable, highly designed products that we manufacture and distribute at our other two facilities in Kentucky and Georgia," said Matt Galvez, newly appointed CEO. "As our Lakeland plant produces primarily trim items that accompany our basic wall tile, its utilization and revenue has been affected dramatically over the last decade. Going forward, the production of these trim items will be consolidated to our Kentucky and Georgia plants to better utilize their production capacity, lower our excessive operating expenses, and help put the company on track to a better financial position." Galvez also identified imported tile as a major challenge facing every U.S. based manufacturer.

For additional information, call (863) 284-4095.