Pilkington to stay in St Helens, MPs told

Pilkington managers have assured MPs for St Helens, the town in north-west England where the UK glass manufacturer is headquartered, that the firm plans to stay there for a “very long time” following …

Pilkington managers have assured MPs for St Helens, the town in north-west England where the UK glass manufacturer is headquartered, that the firm plans to stay there for a “very long time” following the takeover by Japan“s Nippon Sheet Glass. Pilkington chief executive Stuart Chambers told St Helens MPs Dave Watts and Shaun Woodward that the future of the company“s plants is safe and that employees“ pensions rights are protected. In their first round of talks since the completion of a GBP 1.8 billion takeover deal, Mr Watts said they were told the “takeover was in the best interests of both Pilkington“s shareholders and its employees”. Pilkington employs 1,780 people at seven sites in north-west England although there are plans to close the Triplex plant in Eccleston in 2007. This is expected to result in the loss of around 100 jobs. Mr Watts said in a statement: “He (Mr Chambers) believes that bringing the companies together will strengthen both companies“ ability to compete against other glass producers in the future”. “Stuart Chambers went on to say that the company had developed new world class products which had helped to give the company a short-term advantage over its rivals and that it was crucial that the company both continues to produce such new products in the future and increase productivity levels if they are to stay competitive”. Mr Watts added that further assurances were given that the Pilkington pension scheme would not suffer as a result of the takeover.