Hong Kong-based Benelux Group will close its compact disc jewel box injection molding facility in Limvady, Northern Ireland. The plant, which once employed 270, opened a little over a year ago to mold the polystyrene packaging. The remaining 100 workers will lose their jobs.
Al Pattillo, marketing and sales director for Benelux Manufacturing in Peachtree City, Ga., said the manufacturing cost at that site prompted the plant's closure.
Pattillo said plans are to move the 180 presses, auxiliary equipment and tooling back to Asia, where operating costs are lower. He said the move will take place ``rather quickly.''
Pattillo said other factors, including a decline in demand for compact discs and erosion in jewel box pricing, also contributed to the plant's demise.
``Financially, the core of our business is very sound,'' Pattillo said. ``It's this one segment that has strained the company and we're trying to resolve that issue by taking steps to reduce manufacturing costs.''
The plant belongs to the Industrial Development Board of Northern Ireland, a government investment agency that provided the firm with more than $15 million in grants and incentives.
Bill Montgomery, spokesman for the IDB in Chicago, said the contract called for a total investment of $55 million over a defined period of time. The agency plans to exercise its options under the ``claw back'' clauses of the contract it had with Benelux to recoup some of its investment.
``There are certain objectives and targets to be met by a company and when those aren't met, there are penalties,'' Montgomery said.
Benelux also makes 31/2-inch diskettes, mini and microcassettes, components, 8 millimeter cassettes, and audio and video blank cassettes at plants in Asia.