Johnston County Manufacturing Plant To Close

A manufacturing facility in Johnston County will be closing. SONA BLW Precision Forge, Inc. announced Thursday afternoon they will close their facility in the Oak Tree Business Park in Selma.

SONA has locations in India, Germany and the United States.  The Selma location was the company’s only plant in the US.

SONA manufactures a number of parts for automobiles, commercial trucks, agriculture machinery and heavy equipment including precision forged parts such as gears, differential assemblies and synchronizer rings, according to their website.  The products made in Selma are sold in North American, Australia, Brazil, Hungary, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

All 203 employees at the Selma plant will be impacted.

Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver said she was informed this afternoon about the closing. She said the reason for the closure was because of a loss of business revenue for the company.

Johnston County Economic Development Director Chris Johnson said his office was notified about the closing. He said Johnston Community College will work with SONA and the effected employees during the transition. “We know that the business climate is ever changing and we are grateful to SONA for providing jobs to our citizens during its history here in Johnston County.  We are hopeful that with the continued manufacturing and industrial growth within County and the Region, that these individuals can be quickly absorbed back in the workforce.”

The plant will close on September 18th.

The Selma plant was originally known as SMB between 1992 and 1996. The company was sold to Thyssen in 1996.

The announcement comes just two days after CSX announced they chose Rocky Mount over two locations in Johnston County for an intermodal terminal that will create hundreds of jobs in the Edgecombe County area.

Updated 4:50pm – Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver said she spoke with Bill Everest, HR and Facilities Manager at SONA Thursday afternoon. The company needs cash to upgrade and replace equipment that is critical to their operations. If they can get investors prior to September 18th who can help supply cash the plant closing could be prevented.

The company is currently searching for investors the Mayor stated.

“I am proud that SONA is in Selma and hope that it can stay here,” Oliver said.

This story will be updated if more information is released.