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Bridgeport Machines Lays Off 140

August 5, 2002

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ Bridgeport Machines Inc. laid off 140 of its 225 employees Monday and said the company plans to close in late September.

The workers were let go without any severance, said Rick Clemens, the company’s president. Bridgeport Machines filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

The company, founded in 1938 in Bridgeport, Conn., at one time had thousands of employees. It is the latest in a long line of manufacturers to leave the state’s largest city, where abandoned factory buildings dominate the landscape in some sections.

The city will work with the state to help the workers find new jobs, said Joseph Gresko, a spokesman for Mayor Joseph Ganim.

Bridgeport Machines expects to close unless a new owner decides to keep the business open, Clemens said. BPT Holding Inc., a subsidiary of American Capital Strategies in Bethesda, Md., was approved by the bankruptcy court in July to buy the business from Goldman Industrial Group in Boston, but the deal has not yet closed.

The company wants to close the Bridgeport factory and operate the business from abroad, Clemens said.

Bridgeport Machines makes milling machines, grinders and other products for the military, aerospace and automotive industries.

The company has been hurt by a sharp drop in sales in the machine tools industry in the past few years because of the weak economy, Clemens said.

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