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Bard merger to eliminate 98 positions

COVINGTON - C.R. Bard Inc. is closing its facility on Harland Drive, eliminating approximately 98 jobs, according to a company spokeswoman.

Bard is consolidating its urological and medical divisions "to improve its overall cost structure and improve efficiency" according to spokeswoman Holly Glass.

As a result, Bard Urological Division on Harland Drive is merging with Bard Medical Division on Industrial Boulevard.

"All products sold by these businesses are being maintained and will be managed by the combined business unit," Glass said.

The facility is expected to close by June 22.

Terminated employees will receive severance and outplacement benefits, she added.

"We have a long history in Georgia and the Newton County area, with continued investment in the community since 1967," Glass said.

Bard Urological Division opened in 1967, followed by Bard Medical Division in 1996.

Bard opened its global distribution center in 2004 and in 2007 established a sterilization center in Madison. The industry currently employs 700 people in Georgia.

Bard is just the latest local industry or retailer to shut its doors this year due to the bad economy.

Komatsu America Corp. announced in March that it would close its facility by the end of the year, affecting 160 jobs.

Goody's Family Clothing and Lyda's Hallmark in Newton Plaza closed earlier this year, with Wolf Camera soon to follow suit. Several stores downtown have also closed in recent months.

Newton County's unemployment rate in March was 11.9 percent, up from 8.6 percent in February, according to the Georgia Department of Labor. The state unemployment rate for March was 9.2 percent.

In neighboring Rockdale County, the March unemployment rate was 10 percent, down slightly from 10.2 percent in February.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.