Miami County loses computer manufacturing jobs

Systemax Inc. is closing its computer manufacturing plant in Fletcher in Miami County and eliminating 120 jobs there.

The company said 80 sales office employees will keep their jobs, and the company will continue to support and service computers already purchased.

“This was a difficult decision but necessary given competitive and cost pressures,” the company said.

The plant employed about 900 at its peak in the late 1990s.

Systemax announced its exit from computer manufacturing late Thursday with its third-quarter financial results.

“On the consumer front, the environment remains challenging,” said Richard Leeds, Systemax chairman and CEO, on a conference call on the results. “Demand for consumer electronics and PCs remains tepid across the industry.”

Systemax reported $846 million in sales in the third quarter, down from $900 million from the same quarter in 2011. Operating losses for the quarter totaled $1.9 million, compared with $19.3 million in operating income during the same period last year.

Systemax, based in Port Washington, N.Y., said it expects costs from exiting the manufacturing business to total between $6 million and $8 million in 2012 and 2013.

Systemax acquired the Fletcher location when it purchased Midwest Mirco and Infotel Inc. in 1997 for $48.3 million, and it renamed the site Systemax Manufacturing, according to the company’s website and Dayton Daily News archives. Midwest Micro and Infotel began in 1982 and at the time of its sale did $235 million in sales with 480 employees.

By 2000, the plant was experiencing layoffs. That year a set of layoffs cut 100 sales and manufacturing employees, leaving the plant with about 800 workers, according to news reports from the time. That number fell until the Fletcher facility had between 200 and 300 employees by the mid-2000s.

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