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Yutaka to close June 29
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SC Yutaka Technologies, an ATV and motorcycle parts manufacturer will close its Lugoff plant June 29, causing 150 employees to lose their jobs. Assistant Vice President of Operations Jim Edwards said the plant is being closed due to “external economic conditions.”

“As both the Katrina and Lehman Brothers crises hit, we started to see a decline,” Edwards said.

Company officials announced the decision to employees around 3 p.m. Monday, according to Edwards.

He explained that both events -- Hurricane Katrina, which hit the New Orleans, La., area in 2005, and Lehman Brothers Holding’s 2008 bankruptcy -- negatively affected the economy.

“People haven’t done as much discretionary spending,” Edwards said.

“Anytime you lose jobs in your community, it’s a bad hit,” said Kershaw County Economic Development Director Peggy McLean upon learning of Yutaka’s decision Monday afternoon.

She noted that Kershaw County Council was set to take a final vote on a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement called “Project Blue” with an unnamed company. McLean said the Project Blue company is committing to bring at least 25 jobs to Kershaw County.

“And I anticipate they’ll add more,” she said.

McLean also said that Diversified Information Technologies (DIT) is taking over the former SPX Filtran building, across U.S. 601 from the Heritage Pointe Industrial Park where Yutaka and Target’s Lugoff distribution center is located. DIT is a document management solutions company based in Scranton, Pa. According to a February press release on the company’s website, the Lugoff purchase is one of four DIT is making across the country. The others are in Minneapolis, Minn.; Hartford, Conn.; and Portland, Ore.; and will help the company serve clients in the financial services, insurance, healthcare and government sectors along with professional associations.

The company said it was working to bring the new facilities in line with National Archives and Records Administration standards, established to protect “classified and highly confidential federal information.”

The press release did not provide a timetable for moving into the former SPX Filtran building or how many people the facility would employ. McLean did not have that information at hand, but said the move would take place “in the near future.”

In the meantime, Edwards said Yutaka chose the June 29 shutdown date in order to give their employees as much time as possible to find new jobs.

“This decision (to close) is not a reflection on the hard work and dedication of our employees,” Edwards said. “We regret the impact this will have on employees, their families and the community.”

He said the Lugoff plant is the only Yutaka facility closing at this time since it was the only one geared toward ATV and motorcycle parts. Others, he said, are focused on producing automobile parts.