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Imation to cut 1,500 jobs

White City plant unlikely to be affected

Imation Inc. plans to eliminate 1,500 jobs. The announcement late Thursdayfollowed a report of disappointing third-quarter profits.

But the jobs at the company's White City manufacturing plant will apparentlybe spared.

The effect will be very, very small, if any, said Kevin Rubey,the former White City plant manager who now heads the company's global manufacturingoperations.

The Oakdale, Minn., company employs 340 people in White City and 9,900people worldwide.

Imation had already implemented a number of cost-cutting measures beforeit was spun off from Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. last year.

In the latest quarter, Imation reported a loss of $38.7 million, comparedwith net income in the year-earlier period of $11.8 million. Revenue slipped5.3 percent to $529.5 million.

Along with the job reductions -- which will cost $200 million -- thecompany says it will expedite changes in its products.

We have thousands of products, said Rubey. Many ofthem are very new, and they are doing well. Some are older. There's a naturallife cycle for products and it's becoming shorter and shorter.

Imation's conventional computer diskettes and other obsolete and low-marginproducts will be retired for such newer offerings as its 120MB SuperDisk3-inch diskettes and its Travan line of data tape cartridges.

Rubey, 40, who had been plant manager in White City since 1994, saidhe's been transitioning into his new post for several months.The new manager at White City is Brian Melchiori, who arrived a month ago.

In the past three years, Imation has invested more than $50 million onplant improvements and product development at the 30-year-old plant in WhiteCity.

The plant was recently expanded to 235,000 square feet and convertedinto a clean-room environment for the production of sensitivepapers.

The workforce has grown by 100 in the past 18 months and 140 in the past3 years.

The plant manufactures Dry-View laser imaging paper that permits medicalX-rays to be processed without liquids and a glossy copy paper to reproducedigital photos on ink-jet printers.

The White City plant is doing exactly what it needs to do,Rubey said. The products are doing very well. Dry-View is doing exceptionallywell.

The name Imation is a compound of information, imaging, innovationand imagination.

Rubey says Imation is a faster, more responsive company than it was aspart of 3M.

We have fewer layers, decisions are made faster and we can respondquicker to customers, he says. The fundamental reason why thisis done is to create a culture that fits your need.

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