Just five months after announcing it acquired new manufacturing space for its growing business, a Grand Junction defense contractor has laid off 37 employees.
Capco, which contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense to build weapons, weapons components and ammunition, laid off the employees on Wednesday, a company spokeswoman confirmed.
The layoffs come roughly a year after the business was searched by federal agents, who executed a warrant at the business. The details of what is being investigated are not publicly available at this time, and it's unclear whether three employees who were placed on administrative leave after the raid were part of the recent layoffs or if they still work for the company.
Attempts to contact Capco CEO Cordell Bennigson at his office Thursday were unsuccessful. The company referred questions to Michelle Lyng of Novitas Communications in Denver, who has contracted to handle communications for the company.
Lyng provided a statement from Bennigson.
"Due to program delays, we sadly are faced with the reality that we have to lay off approximately 13 percent of our workforce. We have tried to avoid layoffs and we hope this is a temporary solution, but we are working with our impacted employees to ensure that they are cared for during this transition," he wrote.
It wasn't clear what "program delays" were involved or whether the federal investigation involving Capco was related to the layoffs. The company employed about 300 people last year when the employees were sent home during the search involving the federal investigation.
Capco officials said in May that the company created about 80 jobs over the course of the last two years and that it was developing new product lines that would create additional jobs. In the same press release, the company indicated the operation was expected to be in full-scale production by the end of 2018.
Since 2015, the company has won more than $230 million in bids for producing ammunition and weaponry for both the U.S. military and foreign countries that contract with the Department of Defense for sales, according to the department.
In March, Capco announced it had acquired a $34.3 million contract to manufacture bomb-fin assemblies. Capco also is in the middle of fulfilling a five-year, $32.8 million contract for grenade launchers that doesn't end until 2020, according to the company's website.
Capco also announced in May that the company had acquired 35,000 square feet of manufacturing space to expand operations beyond its Winters Avenue location. According to county property records, the building at 640 S. 12th St. cost $2.1 million.