Invacare begins cutting jobs & costs

Sunday, August 7, 2005

ELYRIA, Ohio -- Invacare laid off 36 people at corporate headquarters last week, the first wave of a series that will push 230 Invacare employees from the ranks as the company barges ahead with new cost-cutting measures. The initial round of layoffs included Susan Elder, a 10-year veteran of the company's marketing team.

In addition to the layoffs and a shift in its freight policy for customers, Invacare plans to shave $9 million in costs over the second half of the year by manufacturing more in China, exiting four facilities and shifting resources from product development to other cost reduction activities.

"We have had the luxury of having too many new products in the pipeline," said Lou Slangen, senior vice president of worldwide market development. "Our product development is ahead of what we are capable of putting into the marketplace successfully and effectively."

Those products Invacare can't market and sell aggressively will be pulled from the pipeline, Slangen said.

Invacare late last month regained some lost ground on Wall Street after announcing that the company planned to cut 230 jobs and change its freight policy to help offset rising costs. The company's stock broke the $40 barrier, rising as high as nearly $43 before dropping again to $40.48 late Friday -- about $4 per share lower than it was before Invacare revealed that it wouldn't meet its earnings cost for the second quarter.