Rotational molder and flooring manufacturer Low & Bonar plc, which saw its plastics business sales fall steeply in the key European and North Amercan markets last year, has shut down its British rotomolding plant, cutting 110 jobs.
A significant part of the business from Bonar Rotaform Ltd. in Sheffield, England, is being shifted to other L&B plants in Germany and France, as well as to a new unit in Poznan, Poland.
London-based L&B, parent of Bonar Plastics Inc. of Kitchener, Ontario, disclosed the news in its year-end financial statement. The firm also reported that its North American business saw the weakest demand of the parent company's plastics operations during 2001. Significant cost-cutting measures there proved insufficient to balance a 10 percent loss in sales, according to L&B.
The 15,000-square-foot Sheffield plant mainly served the construction and agricultural markets. The plant closed at the end of 2001, after being badly hit by a farming crisis resulting from the foot and mouth disease epidemic in Britain.
The Sheffield unit ran 12 Reinhardt, Alan Yorke and Rotospeed supplied machines that are being moved to sites in mainland Europe. The company will retain a small sales, warehousing and distribution operation on the vacated site employing 10.
L&B completed a £3.9 million ($5.5 million) restructuring plan in Europe last year, in which it reviewed its 10 facilities in seven countries. The company does not plan any major capital investment in 2002, according to Chairman Duncan Clegg.
In its flooring business, L&B saw annual sales maintained at the 2000 level.
Sales of its Flotex brand of commercial vinyl flooring rose in both Europe and North America, thanks to the introduction of new products and additional marketing, according to the company.
L&B saw its pretax profit almost halved, from £16.5 million ($23 million) in 2000 to £9.4 million ($13 million) in 2001. Sales slipped from £181 million ($259 million) to £172 million ($246 million) in the same period.