Alsager to shut.

Twyford Alsager site to close in 2011

Published:  16 July, 2010

STAFFORDSHIRE: Staff at Twyford Bathrooms have been told 157 people will lose their jobs when it closes its factory in Alsager in 2011.

Twyford Bathrooms blamed difficult economic circumstances for the closure.

The company, which makes toilets, baths and showers at Alsager, began consultations with staff, unions and councillors in May.

Mike Conlon, the company's senior vice president, said: "The unprecedented economic times, not only in the UK but across Europe, which the bathroom industry is facing means that we felt we had no other option open to us."

Manufacturing in the UK is not a critical business success factor for the Twyford business with over 80% of Twyford sales being currently successfully supplied from the wider Sanitec network outside the UK.

While the business needs high quality product supplied reliably at a competitive cost, the Alsager factory does not provide strategic advantages for any of these key business requirements compared to supply from other Sanitec factories, according to the company.

The proposal was to reduce the Alsager ceramic cost per piece by increasing capacity and improving productivity, yield and refire rate while reducing staff head count. Twyford said that it would be extremely difficult to achieve the scale of improvement required while reducing line management and technical support resource.

The financial case for loading the Alsager factory to full capacity or increasing capacity has to be compared against the alternative option of utilising spare capacity within the Sanitec network or investing in more capacity in low cost factories.

To compete with these alternatives the Alsager ceramic cost would have to be significantly less that the proposal presented, but even if the target improvement could be delivered the Alsager ceramic cost would not be as competitive as investing in low cost factory capacity.

Mr Conlon added: "I fully realise and appreciate the significance of this decision and I will ensure that open communication and consultation will continue with representatives of those affected. Twyford Bathrooms understands that there will be a significant amount of disappointment regarding this decision and we will ensure that as we go through this difficult process, we will provide as much support to those affected as we possibly can."

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