Schaeffler to close Plymouth (Barden Corp) and Llanelli factories07 November 2018

Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler has blamed uncertainty surrounding Brexit as 'one factor amongst others' in its decisions to shut two of its three UK plants as well as one of its logistics centres.

It added that only 15% of goods produced in the UK remain here.

It says that 'in the medium term' it will close the Plymouth site, its subsidiary Barden Corporation Ltd, which mainly produces spindle bearings, industrial machine parts and specialised aerospace and defence bearings. It says that the Llanelli site makes mechanical tappets and special-purpose bearings for automotive OEMs and others. Their production will be relocated to other plants in the US, China, South Korea and Germany.

Finally, operations of the Sutton Coldfield logistics centre, which handles industrial products, will be combined with another centre in Hereford for automotive aftermarket parts. Office-based staff in Sutton Coldfield will be moved to a leased office nearby.

The company's Sheffield site, its biggest, which assembles clutches for passenger cars and tractors, is unaffected by the plans.

Juergen Ziegler, Regional CEO Europe, said: “A global business needs to regularly review market conditions and strive to optimise its footprint across different regions. The proposed measures we have taken for the UK reflect this business reality. However, we remain committed to keeping certain activities in the UK, a country that will continue to be important to us."

It is anticipated that the reorganisation plans will take up to two years to implement. Schaeffler is now entering into statutory consultations with elected representatives for all employees at the locations affected. In total, the company currently employs 1,000.

Ziegler added: “The changes to our UK footprint are designed to make us more efficient by relocating parts of our production closer to where our products are used. What we are planning for the UK delivers on our ‘Agenda 4 plus One’ programme. Brexit is clearly not the single decisive factor behind our decision-making for the UK market, but the need to plan for various complex scenarios has brought forward the timing.”

Will Dalrymple

Related Companies
Schaeffler (UK) Ltd

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