TECH Europe relocation plan endangers 53 jobs in Northern Ireland
Around 50 jobs at a tyre repair materials plant in Lisburn are at risk after the US-owned company launched a major review of its business.
TECH Europe employs 53 people at its warehouse and manufacturing facility on the Ballinderry Road. Part of a global brand that employs around 600 people across the world, the Lisburn plant is the Ohio-based company's sole UK operation.
However, its future has been placed in doubt this week after the firm launched a major operational review, which will likely see the business relocated to Belgium. It's understood that around 80% of the company's output in Lisburn is exported to Europe.
Lisburn has long been TECH's European headquarters, but it retains a presence in Belgium and in 2015, acquired a company in Italy.
Gary Crawford, who heads TECH's operation in Europe said the company began discussing the changes some months ago. While the Lisburn plant remains profitable and the company is continuing to expand and invest, TECH is making a strategic decision.
"Whenever you look at where's the location you want to invest in, based on where your market is, then it's pointed very much toward Belgium as a hub for both getting goods in and distribution right across Europe and beyond."
He said Brexit was not the main reason for the move.
Nonetheless, it had created some uncertainty across the industry. The proposal to consolidate the business into the Belgian operation was put to TECH's workforce in Lisburn on Monday. The firm is currently undertaking a consultation exercise before making the final decision.
However if it presses ahead, its anticipated manufacturing will cease in Lisburn in mid-October.
It's understood that the bulk of the 53 staff would be made redundant at that point, the remainder being let go in March.