By Liz White, ERJ staff
Weobley, UK-Primasil Silicones Ltd is moving its organic rubber unit to the Czech Republic by the end of 2005. This business, acquired last May from Ross-on-Wye-based Nicholson Ltd, accounts for nearly 10 percent of Primasil's turnover, with customers representing a very wide range of industries, said a statement from Primasil's managing director, Steve Wheeler.
Significant progress has been made â€¦ enhancing the efficiency and quality of our organic rubber moulding facility,â€ commented Wheeler, discussing the reasons behind the decision.
But, he added-describing an increasingly familiar scenario in the western European rubber industry- increasing costs mean the long-term manufacture of products that use low-cost materials, and where the labour input is high, is uncertain.â€
Wheeler added that the situation is exacerbatedâ€ by increasing demands from customers to reduce prices.
Some of the 18 employees currently at Ross-on-Wye will move to the main site at Weobley, near Hereford, and some are helping to set up the new facility in the Czech Republic. Wheeler expects only a handful of forced redundancies
In the firm's specialist silicone operation, the drivers for the transfer of organic rubber manufacturing do not apply. â€¦ Silicone is relatively very expensive, and there are not significant cost benefits to be gained by moving to a low labour cost country,â€ Wheeler commented.