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Brook plans to end motor production in Huddersfield
Published:  01 March, 2002

Brook plans to end motor production in Huddersfield

Britain`s largest motor-maker, Brook Crompton, is planning to end volume motor production in Huddersfield with the loss of up to 450 jobs. The company, recently bought from Invensys by the Singaporean group Lindeteves-Jacoberg (LJ), says it needs to cut costs to compete in the tough global market.

Brook Crompton will continue to manufacture large AC and DC motors at its Guiseley and Blackheath, Birmingham, plants. Variable speed and custom motors will still be assembled at the Longroyd Bridge plant in Huddersfield, which become the international headquarters for Brook`s newly formed low-voltage motors group. This group combines Brook`s global operations with those of another LJ subsidiary, Australian-based Western Electric.

Brook Crompton is talking to union representatives about its plans to end manufacturing in Huddersfield. Group human resources manager James Storer says that the production could be shifted to other Brook Crompton factories in lower-cost countries such as Poland, India and China.

"If there are redundancies, they will be in stages spread over the rest if this year," he says. "The number could be as high as 450, but we are hoping it will be less."

Brook Crompton employs more than 200 people in its global customer service centre in Huddersfield, which also provides warehousing and acts as a distribution hub. The site will also continue to be the base for the company`s research and development teams and for its engineering department, which develops custom-designed motors. These activities are expected to increase.

"We will be controlling global manufacturing and services operations from here," says managing director Steve Crowther. "Like many other industries, we are finding an increasing emphasis required on the service front. Customers need more support than ever before, so Huddersfield will act as the engineering centre of excellence for the entire group, ensuring consistent standards and quality across the group, and leading future technology developments.

"We will be expanding the central customer service centre, rolling out a single business system, and managing the global supply chains from here," he adds. "Importantly, we`ll be the hub for worldwide logistics, distribution and warehousing."

Although Brook Crompton does not dominate the UK industrial motors market to the degree that it once did, it still claims to supply more than half of the motors used in the UK. It produces around one million motors a year, more than half of which are sold outside the UK. Across Europe, Lindeteves-Jacoberg now holds about 14% of the motors market.

As well as the low-voltage motors division, LJ has formed a high-voltage division based on its German business, Schorch, which it bought last year. The HV operation, which will be managed by Dr Jan Harger, will also handle large LV machines.

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