Swedish appliance manufacturer AB Electrolux will close two plants in England and cut 1,300 jobs there, and cut back production at a plant in Hungary, as part of a two-year restructuring.
The Electrolux Floorcare vacuum cleaner operation at Luton, England, north of London, will close next year, and a refrigerator operation at Spennymoor, England, will close by the summer of 1999. Each plant employs 650.
Both operations involve in-house plastics molding, although the company increasingly has outsourced supply of such parts, particularly injection molded components. At Spennymoor, 64 of the 650 jobs involve vacuum and injection molding.
Production will be transferred to bigger, more-competitive plants abroad, according to Luton-based Electrolux UK. Refrigerator manufacturing probably will be moved to plants in mainland Europe with extra capacity — possibly in Italy and Sweden — while vacuum cleaner production will go to bigger plants in and outside Europe, the company said.
Employees at Spennymoor and Luton were warned of possible cutbacks in June, after parent AB Electrolux of Stockholm revealed its group restructuring plan, which includes the closing of 25 plants and the elimination of 12,000 jobs worldwide.
``The transfer of vacuum cleaner manufacture to other group factories around the world will enable the company to focus its future investment on both more-efficient manufacturing that can be achieved through economies of scale, and on the production of up-market products that can attract a price premium,'' the United Kingdom subsidiary said in a statement.
Transfer of the refrigerator output to Europe will ``enable [the group] to meet the challenges of what has become an aggressively competitive industry.''
AB Electrolux said it will retain the cooker plant, also employing 650, at the Spennymoor complex.
Graham Pannett, Spennymoor managing director, noted that while that site will turn out 270,000 refrigerators this year, Electrolux plants in Italy and Hungary each can produce about 1 million appliances annually. The move will take up excess continental capacity.
Pannett said the United Kingdom refrigerator plant operates 10 vacuum forming machines for making interior door and cabinet liners, and the section employs 56. The plant also has six older, small injection presses for small parts.
Electrolux outsources most of its injection molding work to custom molders across Britain and elsewhere in Europe, including Italy, he said.
No executive was available to give details of plastics operations and labor involved at the Luton vacuum cleaner plant.
In Hungary, Electrolux is moving chest freezer production from its plant in J sz roksz ll s, but will continue to manufacture commercial refrigeration equipment there. The chest freezer operations, which produce 170,000 units a year and employ 200, will be transferred to a facility in Jaszbereny, Hungary, where another shift will be added. The move should be complete by Dec. 31, the company said. Electrolux employs 3,800 at four locations in Hungary.
In June, Electrolux announced it would close about 25 plants and 50 warehouses, eliminating 12,000 jobs.
The company has not released details yet on the other closings.