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July 28, 2014

Saint-Gobain halts Devens operations

File photo

After announcing two years ago it would expand to Devens, French multinational materials company Saint-Gobain has ceased operations there, according to a company official.

Production of components used in LED lights stopped in the spring, according to Bill Seiberlich, a spokesman for Saint-Gobain. A small number of employees are still working to close down the site on Barnum Road, which was formerly occupied by the now-defunct Evergreen Solar.

The facility was designed to produce wafers used in LED lights for mobile devices. The company reportedly invested $30 million in the facility before production began in January 2013, and had planned to employ up to 90 there. Seiberlich said in a statement that changes in the market prompted the decision, but there’s a possibility operations could resume if the market dictates. The company will decide at the end of the year whether to permanently close the site at the end of the year, Seiberlich said.

“This decision was difficult, driven by difficult business conditions. The employees at the Devens plant have demonstrated an absolute commitment to product quality and teamwork, and the company’s decision in no way reflects their hard work or dedication,” Seiberlich wrote.

In an interview, Seiberlich said production never reached full capacity. More than two-thirds of the 54 employees who worked at the Devens site have been transferred to other Saint-Gobain locations, including a Milford, N.H., manufacturing facility. A small research-and-development operation that was housed at the Devens facility will continue at the Milford site, according to Seiberlich.

Saint-Gobain also has operations in Worcester and Northborough.

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