Atlanta Chemical Firm Joins List of Firms Halting 401(k) Match

An Atlanta-based industrial-cleaning chemicals company became the latest employer to call a temporary halt to its 401(k) match in a cost-cutting drive.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that in addition to the 401(k) match suspension, Zep Inc.’s chairman will take a 20% salary cut, while 60 senior executives will see a pay and benefit reduction of up to 13%.

John K. Morgan, chairman and chief executive, told the Journal-Constitution that the company’s slump was like a “flu” and that the cost-cutting moves were designed to deal with that reality.

Morgan said he told employees that reinstating the matching contributions to 401(k) accounts is the first priority upon returning to profitability.

On Monday, the company reported a loss of $1.9 million, or $.07 cents per share in the three months ended November 30. Zep, which in December announced a 5% reduction in its non-sales work force — or 45 jobs — in response to the down economy, blamed the loss on that restructuring as well as falling sales and high commodities costs.