Meter maker and smart grid technology firm Elster Solutions plans to lay off 98 people in Raleigh as it shuts down its decades-old manufacturing operations here and relocates that function to Mexico.
Elster has been one of three national utility meter makers in the Triangle and has had a local presence going back to 1955, when the company started out as Westinghouse. Elster's rival smart grid developers with Triangle operations are Sensus and Itron.
Raleigh is home to more than 530 Elster workers and will remain the company's North American headquarters, said Joe Orlando, Elster's vice-president for strategy and marketing.
Elster is moving manufacturing to Mexico because it has a greater demand from Latin America, Orlando said. The company is keeping other operations here, such as engineering, development, marketing, customer support and product management, Orlando said.
Most recently based in Germany, Elster had more than 600 employees at its North American headquarters in Raleigh in 2010 when it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Last year Elster was acquired by Melrose, a British engineering group, in a $2.3 billion deal.
Elster plans to conduct layoffs in Raleigh in three phases this year, eliminating mechanics, technicians, analysts and operators. Elster notified the N.C. Department of Commerce of its plans on Tuesday.
Some Elster employees in corporate and executive functions have been leaving the company on their own in the past five months.
After the layoffs are completed, Elster will have more than 400 employees in Raleigh, Orlando said.