UPDATE 1-Linamar to create own sales force, cut costs


(Adds details. Figures in U.S. dollars unless noted)

TORONTO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Linamar Corp. said on Monday it would pay $18.2 million to terminate deals with sales agents and create a sales organization of its own.

The Guelph, Ontario-based auto parts maker said the buyout would be accounted for as a one-time cost in the fourth quarter, adding the new sales staff will cost $4.4 million a year starting in 2004.

Linamar, with about 9,000 employees and 30 plants, said the Detroit-based sales agents would have cost it $8.9 million a year in commissions over the next three years.

Chief executive Linda Hasenfratz said the deal would reduce costs and allow Linamar to improve direct contact with its customers.

Of the $18.2 million settlement, $8.7 million has been paid and the remainder will be paid out over 36 months, the company said in a statement.

Shares of Linamar, which has operations in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Hungary and Japan, were up 40 Canadian cents at C$12.60 in Toronto.

($1=$1.30 Canadian)



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