Pilkington: European research centre cuts 90 jobs

UK-based glassmaker Pilkington announced in mid-July 2009 that is to cut another 90 jobs making massive cost savings, part of a global restructuring process.
The firm said it is looking to make more …

UK-based glassmaker Pilkington announced in mid-July 2009 that is to cut another 90 jobs making massive cost savings, part of a global restructuring process. The firm said it is looking to make more than one in six of its employees redundant at its European Technical Centre in Lathom, near Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK, where, for example, nanotechnology was developed to produce coated glass for the solar cell and thermal installation markets. According to a company spokesperson: “We are in the process of looking at the people at risk. We are trying to bring down the numbers as best as we can.” Pilkington closed a float line in St Helens, announced in May, making 76 people redundant, and a second line at its Greengate site in the town will remain closed at least until April 2009, despite a GBP 22 million refurbishment in 2008. A further 11 jobs were lost when the company closed its Automotive Value Added operation in St Helens. Employee figures at Pilkington are now less than 1,300 at its five sites in the area, which is about one-fifth of the workforce employed locally in 1992. Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG), the Japanese owner of Pilkington, also aims to reduce its global staff 15% – about 6,700 people – by March 2010. More than two-thirds of the cuts, mainly in China and the Philippines, have already been made, as part of a GBP 170 million restructuring programme to make the company profitable again as of 2011. NSG reported GBP 191 million losses in the year to 31 March 2009, compared with GBP 243 million profits in 2008, and expects to almost double those losses in the current financial year due to the 15% drop in sales, which are expected to decrease even further by 22%. NSG will report its first-quarter figures to the Tokyo Stock Exchange in August 2009, which will give an idea about whether the firm has started to see improvements in its key markets. It said earlier that the deterioration rate of the market seemed to be slowing, but that it did not expect a significant recovery in the short-term.