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Imation closing Wahpeton, N.D. plant

About 375 people will lose their jobs at the Wahpeton, N.D.-based Imation plant, which is slated to close by mid-2009. Imation Corp. of Oakdale, Minn., announced Monday that it will discontinue all manufacturing operations at Wahpeton as part of ...

About 375 people will lose their jobs at the Wahpeton, N.D.-based Imation plant, which is slated to close by mid-2009.

Imation Corp. of Oakdale, Minn., announced Monday that it will discontinue all manufacturing operations at Wahpeton as part of corporate research and development restructuring.

The Wahpeton plant, one of the city's largest employers, produces magnetic floppy diskettes which Imation will no longer produce, according to a company press release.

The announcement came as a complete surprise, said Wahpeton Mayor Jim Stur-devant.

"We had no idea at all that this was coming," Sturdevant said.

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He was invited to a mid-afternoon Imation conference Monday afternoon. "We thought they might be bring-ing in a new product," Stur-devant said. "I had no warn-ing at all that they would be closing this plant."

The plant employs 390 peo-ple, he said, about 75 percent of whom live in Wahpeton, and neighboring Brecken-ridge, Minn.

"It's going to have a big im-pact on the two communi-ties," Sturdevant said.

A positive side to the an-nouncement is that the com-munity will have about 18-months to seek a replacement employer, he said.

"We're going to have to go to work," Sturdevant said. "We do have some time to entice other manufacturers to move to Wahpeton."

The original plant was built by 3-M Corporation in 1967 and was expanded to include two other buildings after being purchased by Imation. "It's a big campus," he said, located on the north side of Wahpeton near the Highway 210 bypass.

"They've been a pretty solid employer," Sturdevant said. "We're very disappointed."

The restructuring will also affect Imation's Oakdale re-search and development, the company said.

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Overall, 675 positions will be eliminated from its 2,070 member workforce by mid-2009, the majority in manufac-turing operations, the com-pany said.

The restructuring is ex-pected to result in $25 million to $30 million in annual cost eliminations, it said.

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