BELMONT — A factory that employs about 50 people in the fiber-optic testing and inspection division of a multinational corporation will be closing, a company representative confirmed late last week.
“We are winding down that operation over the next six months or so,” Dave LeBlanc said Friday of the AFL plant located at 16 Eastgate Park Drive in Belmont.
AFL employees who work in the Belmont shop were told of the closing last Thursday, said LeBlanc, general manager of the test-inspect division for the privately held corporation, which is headquartered in Duncan, South Carolina.
LeBlanc said while about 50 people work at the Belmont location, not all of them would lose their jobs. He estimated there would be about 30 layoffs when the company closes.
“We are absorbing much of the operation into larger AFL facilities in other parts of the country,” he said.
The decision to close the Belmont shop is related to a “changing business environment in response to the needs of our customers,” LeBlanc said. “Principally, this is about creating economies of scale with our North American operation.”
AFL, which has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, is a subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. The company established a presence in Belmont in 2000 when it purchased Noyes Fiber Systems, which was founded in the mid-1980s.
LeBlanc said the salaries of the employees who will be affected by the closing “is all over the map. It’s a range of roles.”
He said the company will continue to maintain a smaller presence in the Lakes Region, though he couldn’t say how many people AFL would continue to employ in the area.
“I think we’re committed to having an ongoing operation in the Belmont area,” LeBlanc said. “The scale of that operation will obviously depend on our business needs” and will fluctuate. He said most of those jobs will be in the engineering field.
LeBlanc said “a significant number” of AFL employees have been with the company since it was Noyes Fiber Systems.