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MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Metal fabricator Maysteel said it plans on March 1 to close its plant in the city where the company was founded 66 years ago.

The number of jobs that will be lost as a result of the Mayville plant closing was unclear. Some of the 181 employees could land work at other Maysteel factories in southeastern Wisconsin.

Maysteel was founded in Mayville in 1936.

Its business has dropped significantly in recent years amid the industrial slump and competition from China and Mexico, president and chief executive Kim Harter said Tuesday in a statement.

The telecommunications industry, reeling from years of over-building, is an important market for Maysteel.

``We simply have too much capacity and cannot continue to maintain all our plants,'' Harter said in the statement. ``... The Mayville facility is our oldest plant with the oldest equipment and therefore is least able to make adjustments to meet our customer needs.''

Maysteel also has operations in Menomonee Falls, Allenton, Columbus and Ireland. The company provides contract manufacturing services and makes enclosures and other products for electric utilities.

Maysteel's U.S. operations employ 738 people. Another 89 work in Ireland. The company would not disclose annual sales.

Maysteel's headquarters are in Menomonee Falls. The company is part of the Milwaukee-based Everett Smith Group.

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On The Net:

Maysteel: http://www.maysteel.com/