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BRP further tightens its belt with office layoffs after global production halt

BRP Inc. announced Wednesday it would temporarily lay off office workers as part of cost reduction measures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BRP Inc. announced Wednesday it would temporarily lay off office workers as part of cost reduction measures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The maker of Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo watercraft said "some employees" will be laid off or furloughed, while others will work reduced hours or fall subject to permanent layoffs.

The move comes amid a new hiring freeze and after the company suspended all production lines and temporarily laid off the majority of its assembly line workers at its 10 plants across the globe.

CEO Jose Boisjoli said the decision aims to protect employees — 13,500 were employed as of the end of January — and ensure the company's long-term growth, stating that BRP entered the crisis "from a strong position."

BRP had $42.5 million in cash on hand as of Jan. 31 after earning $6.05 billion in revenue and $370.6 million in net income for the year.

The company declined to disclose the number of plant workers or office employees affected.

"These are cases directly linked to the suspension of our manufacturing activities," spokeswoman Elaine Arsenault said in an email, referring to Wednesday's office layoffs. "These measures will be gradually lifted as activities resume."

Boisjoli is forgoing his salary for the year, while executives are taking a 15 per cent cut and board members are dropping the cash portion of their compensation, the company said.

Remaining office employees face a 10 per cent salary reduction as the company chops operating expenses and postpones capital expenditures.

The 10 factories affected in shutdowns announced on March 30 are located in Valcourt, Que., as well as the United States, Mexico, Austria and Finland.

BRP shares lost $1.56 or 5.53 per cent Wednesday, closing at $26.66 after bouncing back from a nearly 10 per cent drop in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:DOO)

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

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