HP to shut New Jersey plant, ax 300 jobs

Hewlett-Packard Co. has confirmed that it will shutter a computer manufacturing facility in New Jersey that it acquired as part of its merger with Compaq Computer Corp.

Located in Swedesboro, N.J., the plant is used for assembling and packaging PCs, servers and iPaq handheld computers ordered through Compaq’s Web site. The plant is one of four in the U.S. responsible for handling online orders.

“It’s the smallest of our four Compaq Direct facilities,” said Roger Frizzell, an HP spokesperson. “It really didn’t have the sufficient scale to achieve the level of cost effectiveness…without more investment.”

About 300 jobs will be eliminated as a result of the closure, which is expected to be completed by the end of October, Frizzell said. Employees will be offered the chance to be relocated to new jobs at HP, and will receive a minimum of 12 weeks severance pay, the company said.

The manufacturing and assembly work handled by the Swedesboro plant will be transferred to the three other Compaq Direct facilities, located in Indianapolis, Indiana; Omaha, Nebraska; and Ontario, California.

Compaq acquired the four Compaq Direct facilities in January 2000 from PC distributor Inacom Corp.

Separately, Royal Philips Electronics NV also announced plans to relocate its monitor production facilities in Juarez, Mexico, to an existing facility in China. About 900 employees will be affected by the move, which is expected to be completed over the next few months, the company said in a statement.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the 900 workers would all be laid off, and Philips, based in Amsterdam, couldn’t be reached for comment.