Newly formed Aurafin OroAmerica Inc announces layoffs

Two weeks after Aurafin, finalized its acquisition of OroAmerica Inc., the new combined company announced layoffs at the OroAmerica Burbank factory, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The new company, Aurafin OroAmerica Inc., was formed last month when Aurafin, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., acquired Burbank,Calif.-based OroAmerica. Workers at the Burbank offices and factory were notified of the impending layoffs this week, company Vice President Robert Whitaker told the newspaper.

The layoffs are due to work force duplications resulting from the merger, he told the newspaper. He declined to say how many workers would be affected. Privately held Aurafin acquired OroAmerica on June 21 in a $74-million purchase of OroAmerica stock at $14 a share. The deal joined two of the largest U.S.-based gold jewelry manufacturers.

Aurafin specialized in a line of fine gold jewelry sold at independent stores, and OroAmerica focused on less expensive, trendier jewelry sold at wholesale clubs, discount retail chains, and department stores.

The new company has 1,500 employees worldwide and projected annual sales in excess of $325 million, according to a company statement. OroAmerica, which is now a division, had sales of $172 million last year.

OroAmerica acquired a small Minneapolis-based gold jewelry business in 1998 and made an unsuccessful bid to buy Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based Michael Anthony Jewelers Inc., another top U.S. gold jewelry maker, in 1999.