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.