BENTON — A Benton boat-making plant is shutting down after its international owner announced Friday it’s pulling the plug on operations.

Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., which is based in Valcourt, Quebec, Canada, said sales are down globally in the marine industry, and the company will no longer make the type of sport boat that it has been building at the 400,000-square-foot facility just east of Interstate 57 since 1995.

BRP-produced products include Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo watercraft, as well as speedboats.

The plant employed 340 people, who were already on seasonal leave from production, said BRP spokesman Johanne Denault. Workers were scheduled to report to work Monday. A company statement said all workers not returning would “receive a good transition package.”

“This is a difficult but necessary decision for BRP,” company President and CEO José Boisjoli said in a statement. “We worked hard to grow our sport boat business through a serious sales decline that began in 2007. But now, we must focus our research and development resources and capital investments in areas of our business that offer greater growth potential.”

BRP tried unsuccessfully to sell its sport boat production operation.

Internationally, BRP employs more than 6,000 employees, with facilities in the U.S., Mexico and Finland, among others.

Local factory worker numbers fluctuated from season to season, but during its roughly 17 years of operation in Benton, the plant has employed as many as 500 people at one time.

618-351-5090

(6) comments

MickeeD
MickeeD

I never did hear about the investigation regarding the BRP boat crash which killed two people a few months ago. This is obviously another bad hit for BRP's public relations.

OLD JOE
OLD JOE

MickeeD, My brother, brother n law is a higher up at the Benton plant. He told me the conclusion was, the boat drivers was just playing to hard and not paying attention.

I hate to see the Benton plant go down. I know a lot of good people that work their. In our area BRP is one of the best places to work at an earn a decent wage and benefits. The Canadian employers took really good care of the american workers!

The Benton plant only worked 6-9 months a year, depending how many sales they had. During the shut down, and when the employees was drawing unenjoyment. BRP would put another $300 a month on a debit card for their employees so they wouldn't go out and find another job.

daver852
daver852

Don't panic! President Obama has already created 4.5 million jobs! When he's reelected, he'll creat 4.5 million more! Why, we'll have so many jobs we'll probably have to grant amnesty to 20 million illegal Mexicans just to fill them. Prosperity is right around the corner.

Rod D

OlDizzzzzy. .Bain partnered 50/50 with the Bombardier family, in August of 03, almost 4 years after our next President departed from Bain. BRP is still a Canadian company,

But, I suppose you think the company should continue to let the division bleed them dry, so the entire corporation can go bankrupt.

SI Resident

Just what Southern Illinois needs, more job losses.

OlDiz

In item of note that was included in the Corporate press release but omitted above:

" Bombardier Inc. unit was bought out in 2003 by a consortium led by U.S. private equity fund Bain Capital. "

Bain Capital - Good for America.

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