Insulation jobs set to move away

Albany International Corp. is quitting the business of making its PrimaLoft insulation products — a
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Albany International Corp. is quitting the business of making its PrimaLoft insulation products — a move that will affect 17 salaried employees at its Broadway headquarters.

A Texas manufacturer will pick up the production of PrimaLoft products while Albany International handles the innovation, sales and marketing of the insulation for outdoor clothing, gloves, footwear, sleeping bags and home furnishings.

The outsourcing move further shrinks Albany International’s manufacturing operations in the region.

Earlier this year, the company ceased its paper machine clothing production operations in Menands and East Greenbush, resulting in the elimination of 225 jobs. By August, the company employed 75 in the region, where it has administrative offices and makes corrugated belts and PrimaLoft products.

PrimaLoft has remained a profitable venture for Albany International. During the third quarter, the insulation arm posted $5.1 million in net sales, up 28.5 percent from a year earlier.

During the same period, the division’s operating income more than doubled, increasing to $646,000 from $304,000. Despite those gains, the global economic downturn prompted Albany International executives to “rethink” their PrimaLoft arm.

“Rather than remaining a traditional vertically-integrated manufacturing business, we will now focus on our core strengths of innovation, sales and marketing. Accordingly, we will exit the manufacturing side of the business and rely on outside parties to produce product for us,” Albany International spokeswoman Susan Siegel said in an e-mail.

The company in January will begin to exit PrimaLoft manufacturing, a process that is expected to be completed by June.

Categories: Business

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