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Clorox to Streamline Manufacturing

December 18, 2000
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Clorox Co. streamlines manufacturing in an effort to bolster stock prices strained by a major acquisition and slowing markets.

Chicago (Reuters) -- Clorox Co. says it will streamline manufacturing in an effort to cope with strains from a major acquisition and slowing markets that have lowered its stock price. The restructuring will account for about two-thirds of the $150 million to $200 million in charges and special items that Clorox plans to post in 2001, it said.

The Oakland, Calif.-based company does not have plans to cut its work force, but will shift employees to more important product lines, a spokesman said. Clorox said several new items, including a dry cleaning product and the premium Black Flag insect spray, have not performed as well as hoped. The company said it would write down inventory related to those products. While focusing on First Brands, the company did not pay as much attention to new product reviews as it had in the past.

Makers of consumer products are generally less susceptible to an economic downturn because people continue to buy basic products like laundry soap, but recent demand has been sluggish enough to affect profits at Clorox. Clorox will also review its portfolio of businesses as it tries to improve operations. Clorox said it has not been able to address this issue properly for the past two years because of accounting issues related to the January 1999 acquisition of First Brands.

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