© Schaeffler General | November 07, 2018
Schaeffler to reorganise UK business – closes two sites
Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler is reorganising its UK business activities. The company says that it will retain a “meaningful presence” in the UK but will reduce its overall footprint and relocate some of its UK production.
The reorganisation of the UK business activities is a part of the company’s excellence programme “Agenda 4 plus One”. Within the program the company is examining the strategic and economic competitiveness and long-term sustainability of all Schaeffler locations worldwide. And in part of this initiative the Executive Board of the has decided to reorganise its activities in the UK, a press release reads. Schaeffler currently has three plants in the UK, in Plymouth (Barden Corporation Ltd.), Llanelli and Sheffield, and two logistics centres, in Hereford and Sutton Coldfield. The UK locations have a total workforce of just over 1’000 employees. Sheffield, the biggest of the company’s UK locations in terms of revenues and employee numbers, will be retained in its current form. The plant assembles clutches for passenger cars and tractors. The proposed plan is to close the Llanelli and Plymouth sites in the medium term and relocate production to existing plants outside the UK, in the US, China, South Korea and Germany. At present, the Plymouth site mainly produces spindle bearings and machine parts for Schaeffler’s Industrial division and additionally specialised bearings for the aerospace and defense industries. At Llanelli, mechanical tappets and special-purpose bearings are made for Automotive OEMs and selected Industrial customers. The company say that in its analysis it looked at various factors including economic conditions, supply and demand, and the decisions OEMs are making. It also took into account that only 15 percent of the goods Schaeffler produces in the UK remain in the country, while the vast majority is exported to continental Europe. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit was one factor amongst others in the analysis of the UK market. It is anticipated that the reorganisation plans will take up to two years to implement. The two logistics centres, in Sutton Coldfield (Industrial products) and Hereford (Automotive Aftermarket), are proposed to combine operations at Hereford. “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,” says Juergen Ziegler, Regional CEO Europe, in the release. Schaeffler is now entering into statutory consultations with elected representatives for all employees at the locations affected.