Hexcel’s Kent aerospace manufacturing plant. COURTESY PHOTO, Hexcel

Hexcel’s Kent aerospace manufacturing plant. COURTESY PHOTO, Hexcel

Hexcel lays off 160 at Kent aerospace manufacturing plant

Impacts of Boeing 737 MAX grounding, COVID-19 pandemic

Hexcel Corp., which manufactures advanced composite materials for the commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial markets, has laid off 160 employees at its Kent facility.

The layoffs began on April 20, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) released April 21 by the Washington State Employment Security Department. Staff from the Employment Security Department’s local rapid response team and WorkSource center will perform outreach to employees of the organization to ease the transition.

Hexcel also will lay off 128 workers at its Burlington plant in Skagit County, according to a WARN released by the state. The manufacturer at the start of the year employed a total of 950 employees in Kent and Burlington, according to a January article on bizjournals.com. The Connecticut-based company employs more than 7,000 at 24 plants across the world, according to the Hexcel website.

First-quarter profits this year dropped 41.3% from about $72 million a year ago to around $42 million, according to the company’s website. Sales were $541 million, compared to $610 million in the first quarter of 2019, a drop of 11.3%. The company had $2.3 billion in sales in 2019.

“First quarter results were negatively impacted primarily by the continued grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hexcel Chairman, CEO and President Nick Stanage in a report on the company’s website. “The 737 MAX continues to be a headwind with no production at this time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced temporary closures at a number of our plants as well as customer plants. These impacts led to reduced sales and overhead absorption challenges. Going forward, we anticipate significant declines in demand within the aerospace and industrial markets that will challenge us for the remainder of the year. While we do not yet know how long this pandemic will last or its continued impact on customer demand, our Hexcel team is acting decisively to realign our operations in this rapidly changing business environment.”

Hexcel’s Kent facility, 19819 84th Ave. S., became part of the company in 1996 through the acquisition of the Ciba-Geigy composites business. The facility designs, manufactures and sells a broad range of complex finished interiors and structural composite components, according to the Hexcel website. The plant supplies some of the world’s top aerospace and defense contractors including Boeing, Bell Helicopter, Spirit and Sikorsky Aircraft (now part of Lockheed Martin).

Hexcel was founded in 1948.


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