Seco Tools closing Lenoir City plant

Mayor says move is devastating

By Hugh G. Willett

A Lenoir City manufacturing company has announced it is closing up shop with a loss of about 74 jobs.

Seco Tools, a producer of industrial machine tooling that has been in Lenoir City since 1979, will close its local facility and transfer the jobs to other facilities, said Mike Parker, director of engineering and marketing.

Parker said the Seco transition will begin in July and is expected to take until the second half of 2014.

According to the company web site, Seco North America is a subsidiary of Seco AB of Sweden. The facility in Lenoir City produces a variety of milling cutters, turning tools, indexable insert drills and custom tooling solutions.

Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said he and Loudon County Economic Development Agency president Pat Phillips spoke with management at Seco on Tuesday. He said he was told about 74 jobs would be affected over the next several months.

“We were told production was down. It’s a devastating blow to Lenoir City,” Aikens said.

Aikens said the city will work with the county to try and bring in new jobs, perhaps even in the same building.

Phillips said the EDA and city and county officials have begun talks with Seco management to ensure that resources are extended to displaced employees and to secure a new manufacturing tenant for the property.

“We have been assured the decision to close the Lenoir City facility was based on excess capacity among its global operations due to declining demand, and we received many positive comments regarding the quality of the workforce and the competitiveness of the business climate here in Loudon County,” Phillips said.

The announcement comes almost exactly a year after Yale Lock and Hardware decided to close its Lenoir City facilities.

In 2011, Seco’s Lenoir City plant became the first Seco facility in the world to integrate a solar installation to reduce its environmental footprint.

The $187,500 project was assisted by a $59,220 grant from the Tennessee Solar Institute and a 30 percent federal tax credit.