German manufacturer Schaeffler to shut two UK plants after Brexit

Schaeffler says Brexit uncertainty is a factor in its decision to trim UK operations at a time of global pressures.

German manufacturer Schaeffler has said Brexit is a factor in its decision to close two UK plants, with 500 jobs expected to be lost.

The company, which employs just over 1,000 staff in the country, said uncertainty over the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU had helped shape a review of its global interests.

Schaeffler announced the decision a week after it issued a profit warning on the basis of “increasing market volatility in the global automotive business”.

It said it planned to shut its production sites in Plymouth, which makes spindle bearings and machine parts, and in Llanelli, where automotive products are manufactured, over the next two years.

That work, the company said, would be transferred to existing sites in the United States, China, South Korea and Germany.

While its biggest plant, in Sheffield, will be retained, Schaeffler said the work of its two logistics centres in Hereford and Sutton Coldfield would be combined at Hereford.

The statement said its review “focused on how best to structure the business in the UK based on various factors including economic conditions, supply and demand, and the decisions OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are making”.