H.B. Fuller to Close More Plants, Cut 370 Jobs

The latest closures and job cuts will occur across Europe and are part of the company’s efforts to streamline its operations in the region and consolidate them with the industrial adhesives business of Forbo Group, which H.B. Fuller recently acquired.

Vadnais Heights-based H.B. Fuller Company announced Thursday that it plans to eliminate 370 jobs across Europe within the next two years.

The company said the cuts are part of its plan to streamline its operations in Europe, India, the Middle East, and Africa (EIMEA). They are also part of its efforts to consolidate its own operations with those of the industrial adhesives business of Switzerland-based Forbo Group. H.B. Fuller recently acquired the business for $394 million.

H.B. Fuller makes adhesives, sealants, and other specialty chemical products.

The 370 jobs that will be eliminated include 270 manufacturing jobs at five facilities that the company plans to close. The five plants scheduled for closure are in Chatteris, United Kingdom; Pirmasens, Germany; Vigo, Spain; Borgolavezzaro, Italy; and Wels, Austria.

The remaining 100 cuts will affect sales, finance, customer service, and research and development positions that are spread out across Europe.

H.B. Fuller said that it plans to invest $90 million in the EIMEA region over the next three years to consolidate operations and increase production capacity; the company hopes these measures will improve its profitability.

“Streamlining our operations and investing where it makes sense will make the region more efficient and able to provide even better service to our customers,” H.B. Fuller President and CEO Jim Owens said in a statement.

The announcement about the Europe job cuts comes about six weeks after H.B. Fuller said that it plans to close seven facilities in North America by mid-2013, resulting in the elimination of 130 jobs. Those closures are part of its consolidation efforts related to the Forbo acquisition and will not affect jobs in Minnesota.

H.B Fuller is among Minnesota’s 30-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $1.6 billion in 2011. It employs approximately 4,000 people worldwide.