Tuesday, March 06, 2001

Hill-Rom cuts Indiana jobs

Batesville to lose about 100 positions

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hill-Rom Co., Hillenbrand Industries Inc.'s hospital bed unit, said Monday about half the 200 jobs it will eliminate in a restructuring will come from its Batesville, Ind., operations.

        Fred Rockwood, Hillenbrand's new president and CEO, said the cuts were necessary because the company has decided to leave the business of renting special beds for home health-care patients and long-term care patients because of reduced government reimbursement levels.

        The new jobs cuts bring to 400, or about 6 percent of its 6,500 employees, that Hill-Rom has cut since January. Most of the earlier cuts were in Charleston, S.C., where the home-care and long-term care businesses were based. Hill-Rom said the job cuts are the last phase of a companywide realignment to streamline its organizational structure to improve efficiencies.

        With the earlier job cuts, Hillenbrand, which also operates Batesville Casket Co., said it expects to take a charge of about $20 million, or 21 cents a share, in the current quarter.

        The company said the moves were expected to reduce fixed expenses by $25 million to $30 million annually.

        The company said it would help the affected employees find new jobs. Hillenbrand employs about 4,000 in Batesville. Hillenbrand had $2.1 billion in sales during the fiscal year ending Dec. 2. Hillenbrand's shares closed Monday at $50.57, up 59 cents.


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