Perlos Ltd. is cutting 32 jobs at one of its Rainton Bridge, England, plants after a major electronics customer unexpectedly axed a product line.
Meantime, the company's parent is establishing a new production plant in Beijing to serve Nokia Oyj and other mobile telephone customers in China.
Perlos Oyj of Nurmijarvi, Finland, will invest $5 million in the 100 percent-owned subsidiary. The 115,000-square-foot plant will double the company's production space in China, and will start production in the second quarter of 2003.
``China is the fastest-growing market for Perlos' services in the near future,'' said Timo LeinilÃ¤, Perlos Oyj's president and chief executive officer. ``Our present plant capacity will soon be insufficient for the expected demand, and along with this investment, we will rapidly have additional capacity.''
Perlos Ltd. blames the layoffs in England on the 2002 switch of molding work by customers like Black & Decker Corp. from Britain to cheaper manufacturing locations like the Czech Republic.
Perlos runs two plants in Rainton Bridge: a mold-making and design facility with 65 mold makers; and an injection molding, paint and assembly plant. The molding unit has 42 injection presses with clamping forces of 20-220 tons, around half of them all-electric Fanucs.
The firm, which has been heavily dependent on telecommunications and electronic parts business, said Dec. 9 it was surprised by the sudden loss of the contract.
``This announcement to discontinue the product came out of the blue. We had just been told a couple of months ago that the contract would go on for the foreseeable future,' said Managing Director Teemu Saloranta. He declined to identify the customer.
``Normally, this [electronics] market has been more steady, and not as volatile as telecoms,'' he said.
Saloranta said he is a staunch defender of British competitiveness, but he has become concerned at the state of the local manufacturing sector and the growing migration of customers to cheaper locations. Many original equipment manufacturers face severe competition from abroad, particularly the Far East, he noted.
``The growing outflow of OEMs moving from the United Kingdom is a very worrying trend from our point of view,'' Saloranta said, adding that even those who stay tend to shift supply of molded parts overseas.