Sunday, May 26Serving the aftermarket

Schaeffler sells Plymouth factory, safeguarding jobs

Schaeffler has announced it is to sell one of its UK facilities rather than close it down, safeguarding hundreds of jobs.

The supplier announced last yearthat it was realigning its UK activities and closing two plants as part of its “Global Footprint” initiative, which reviews all Schaeffler locations worldwide with regards to the focus on Schaeffler’s core strategic business areas.

During a formal consultation, the company found alternatives to shutting its factory in Plymouth. Schaeffler has now confirmed the sale of the site to a division of HQW Precision, a provider of high-precision rolling bearings and assemblies, headquartered in the German town of Kürnach.

Under the agreement, the Barden brand will be used worldwide except for America. In America the brand will continue to be used exclusively by Schaeffler. At present, the Plymouth site mainly produces spindle bearings and machine parts for Schaeffler’s Industrial division, as well as super-precision bearings for the aerospace and defence industries. Barden UK will continue to be a supplier to Schaeffler Group under a separate supply agreement.

“We are very pleased that HQW Precision is a company with which Schaeffler already has a business relationship,” said Stefan Spindler, CEO Industrial of the Schaeffler Group. “The plant in Plymouth is an excellent addition to their portfolio of high precision products. We have every confidence that Barden will continue to offer products with the highest standards of quality.”

Jon Everett, Managing Director of Barden UK, added: “This successful outcome is the result of a shared goal between the key stakeholders to find the best solution for Schaeffler, Barden’s customers and employees, and the Plymouth community. We would therefore like to thank HQW and acknowledge the valuable support of the Ministry of Defence, our local political representatives, and the people of the City of Plymouth during this process.”

The closure of the company’s plant in Llanelli is still scheduled to go ahead. The global footprint analysis focused on how best to structure the business in the UK based on various factors including economic conditions, supply and demand, and the decisions OEMs are making. It also took into account that only 15% 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 among others in the analysis of the UK market.