Lower Freight Costs Prompt Oneida Move to Savannah

Oneida Ltd. will relocate its east coast distribution center for its stainless steel and silverplated flatware from Oneida, N.Y., to a new facility in Savannah, Ga. It also plans to expand its sales and marketing offices in New York City, but will keep administrative and operating functions in Oneida, the company’s home for more than a century.

"Upstate New York has been Oneida's home for over a century, and I am pleased that we will keep a vibrant presence here," said James E. Joseph, president of Oneida. Oneida's administrative and operational functions total approximately 200 positions in finance, legal, logistics, customer service, design, human resources and information technology. These roles will remain in Oneida, New York.

Beginning in early 2007, Oneida will begin to relocate its distribution center from Oneida to a new, 500,000 sq.-ft. facility outside of Savannah. By locating a distribution center near a major port, the move is expected to reduce freight costs. Oneida employs approximately 150 people at its current 205,000 distribution facility, which it built in 1999. It announced that it will offer job training, outplacement services and other assistance to employees affected by the relocation.

The streamlining will help the company as it reorganizes in an effort to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of these efforts, in mid July company executives agreed to be acquired by Laminar Portfolios, L.L.C. and Xerion Capital Partners LLC, two hedge funds that currently own Oneida sahres. Under the terms of the proposed purchase, Laminar and Xerion will pay at least $222.5 million, plus the payment or assumption of all other general unsecured debt. The transaction also calls for the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to take over the company’s pension obligations.

Ten years ago, Oneida employed 5,400 people worldwide, including 3,200 in Central New York, according to local news report. It now employs 900 worldwide.

Source: Oneida Ltd.

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