TRENTON, Maine — Three months after laying off nearly 50 employees from its local production facility, The Hinckley Co. announced Monday that it is laying off 25 more.
The slumping economy remains the reason the luxury yacht manufacturer is cutting back at its Trenton plant. According to company officials, the latest layoffs will reduce the number of employees Hinckley has in Maine to 215.
Ed Roberts, vice president for marketing and product development, said Monday that Hinckley had hoped that orders for its luxury sailing yachts and its powerboats would increase at the end of 2008, but such demand did not materialize.
“So far, like everyone else, we continue to be pessimistic [about the economy],” Roberts said. “Sales drives our production volume. It’s as simple as that.”
Last October, Hinckley laid off 49 people at the same production plant, which represented about 9 percent of the company’s work force. More than half of the company’s approximately 550 employees work at Hinckley facilities outside of Maine. Hinckley has sites in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
In 2002, the company employed more than 700 people, approximately 500 of whom worked in Maine.
According to a press release issued Monday, the newest layoffs at the Trenton plant were effective immediately. The facility, located in a business park on Route 3, opened in 1998.
“While the launch of the new Picnic Boat [last August] has been the most successful new product launch in the company’s 80-year history, we have seen overall revenues continue to soften due to the general economic trend in the country,” Hinckley Co. CEO Jim McManus said in the press release. “Hinckley recognizes that to keep the company, and its Maine-based operation, financially strong in the long term, it is necessary to take steps to manage this extraordinary downturn in the short term.”
Roberts said the company is not considering the layoffs to be permanent. When the economy picks up and orders start to increase, he said, the company hopes to be able to ramp up its production schedule again.
“We’re quite hopeful we’ll be able to bring back as many people that are available in a relatively short period of time,” Roberts said.
Despite the layoffs, Hinckley has done relatively well compared with other luxury yacht manufacturers, the press release indicated. It said Hinckley would continue to work with state, federal and local agencies to try to help those affected by the layoffs find work elsewhere.
Hinckley Yachts was founded in 1928 in Southwest Harbor, where it continues to maintain a brokerage office, a service yard and other nonmanufacturing operations.