Semitool to Cut Costs by Temporarily Shutting Down

By Beacon Staff

Semitool Inc., the third-largest employer in Flathead County, said Tuesday it would effectively shut down for three weeks and cut back to a skeleton production crew because of lagging customer orders.

“During this continuing economic crisis many companies across the nation are using this holiday time to reduce production hours,” the Kalispell-based company said in a news release.

Semitool, a leading manufacturer of wafer processing equipment for the semiconductor industry, will tentatively shut down from Dec. 15 through Jan. 5.

“Customer orders will be the bottom line,” said Vicki Billmayer, human resources manager. “We’re looking at it every day.”

Assemblers and security personnel will be among the skeleton crew, while all operations not related to revenue will be shut down.

Billmayer said the company has made reductions over the holidays in the past because many of its customers also shut down during that time.

Tuesday’s announcement comes about a month after Semitool laid off 100 workers in its Kalispell and Libby production plants — leaving a Montana work force of 700 employees. The company plans to cut about 170 employees from its 1,300-person work force worldwide.