Gardner Denver workers report layoffs; company remains silent

Posted: Jan. 25, 2013 10:09 pm Updated: Feb. 15, 2013 10:12 pm

Herald-Whig Senior Writer

Gardner Denver Inc. officials declined to comment Friday on reports that several dozen workers have been laid off from the machine and assembly shop in the Quincy facility.

"It is not the business' policy to discuss things of this type," said Vikram Kini, a company spokesman and vice president of investor relations.

Workers at the Quincy factory confirmed that "some of the guys went home," but declined to be identified by name. Long-time Gardner Denver workers said work has slowed at the plant in recent months. A source said the layoffs are likely temporary.

Phone calls to other Gardner Denver executives were not immediately returned.

Gardner Denver has been in talks with private equity firms that buy companies expected to grow or become profitable. Prices and profits for compressors and manufacturing equipment are expected to rise greatly during the next few years, according to industry experts.

Gardner Denver employed about 300 people in Quincy. The local factory produces industrial machines such as pumps and other devices used in the petroleum sector or for other industrial purposes.

Talks of a sale or merger began July 28 after ValueAct Capital recommended a sale to boost shareholder profits. ValueAct made its suggestion to the board of directors after what it called the "surprising resignation" of Gardner Denver CEO Barry Pennypacker on July 16.

Chief Financial Officer Michael Larsen was named CEO after Pennypacker's departure.

Gardner Denver announced in August that it would shut down some of its European manufacturing facilities and trim its work force to reduce costs. That move came after the company reported a 36 percent drop in orders for the company's engineered products division -- mostly petroleum and industrial pumps -- during the second quarter.

Gardner Denver officials confirmed in early December that they were negotiating a sale to SPX Corp. Those talks broke off late in December when SPX could not get the loan terms they wanted.

The company's stock was considered a bargain when it was selling in the $55 range and market analysts predicted a purchase offer could come in around $70 per share. That led to a surge in GDI stock prices that rose as high as $76 in late December. GDI stock closed at $70.63 per share on Friday.

Vincent Trupiano was appointed vice president of Gardner Denver Inc., and president of its Industrial Products Group earlier this week. In his new position, Trupiano is responsible for the company's global Industrial Products Group, reporting directly to Larsen.

Trupiano joined Gardner Denver in 2010 as vice president and general manager of the Nash business. Trupiano succeeds Brian L. Cunkelman, who resigned to pursue other opportunities.