500 face axe as Hewlett Packard shuts Irish print plant
Global technology firm Hewlett Packard is to shut one of its main operations in Ireland with the loss of several hundred jobs.
The multinational's facility in Leixlip, Co Kildare, focuses on products for the PC and printer market, which is under increasing pressure from the fall in traditional computer sales, the move away from printing documents and preference for tablet technology.
The company, which also has a centre in Belfast employing around 40 people, in a statement said: "In line with our previously communicated strategy, HP's global print business is working to drive continuous efficiencies and cost savings that enable investment in new market opportunities and growth initiatives, such as 3D printing.
"As a result, we have made the decision to close our global print business at the Leixlip site.
"It is likely that close to 500 HP employees will be impacted and leave the business over the next 12 months."
The company split its operations into Hewlett Packard Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprises in 2015, with the latter focusing on new technology such as cloud computing.
It announced last October that between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs would be cut from its 50,000 worldwide workforce between 2017 and 2019.
The company said the Leixlip facility has been an important HP site for its operations over the last 20 years and that it has "a long history of valuable contribution, innovation and business excellence".
"This decision is not a reflection on our Ireland employees or on the site's performance," it said.
"We are very aware of the impact this decision will have on our employees in Ireland and we are focusing all of our efforts on supporting them, on identifying opportunities for them and on providing a programme to help them prepare for the transition ahead."
The firm first set up a sales office in Ireland in 1976 and the Leixlip facility - a major employer in the Kildare region - was established in 1995, producing ink-jet printer cartridges and working on research and development.
Hewlett Packard has other operations in Ireland, including in Galway, Dublin and Belfast, and at its height employed several thousand staff.
But operations outside Leixlip are not affected.
Senior management from the company's head offices in Palo Alto, California, briefed employees at a meeting in the facility.