Swiss sink manufacturer Franke has announced it will establish a new facility in Slovakia, with gradual closure of its existing factories in Scotland, Holland and Slovakia over the next 18 to 20 months.
Lars Voelkel, chief executive of Franke Kitchen Systems, said: “The new, single plant will support our existing sales and distribution operations throughout Europe in the future and will bring significant advantages for our customers.
“The increased capacity and efficiency will enable us to provide a far greater flexibility, responsiveness and choice for customers and will also be a focus for ongoing research and development as we continue Franke’s track record of innovation.
“The major reassurance for our customers will be the guarantee of a smooth continuity of service and continuing access to all the brands they have come to rely on.”
According to Franke, “significant” growth rates from its Fragranite and Tectonite sink ranges mean that a more efficient, higher-capacity production facility is needed to meet predicted expansion in the mid to high-end and mid to low-end markets.
In addition, a new warehousing and distribution facility is being planned for the Falkirk area. Franke’s Manchester-based sales and customer service operation will not be affected by the changes.
The company is currently in ongoing discussions with unions following announcements to staff at the three affected plants today.
Bart Doornkamp, Franke’s operations director (coloured sinks), said: “Consultation with the trade unions is a priority to ensure that we undertake an orderly, phased closure of the plant by December 2017. Dependent on those discussions, we are hopeful that there will be no redundancies before the start of next year.
“We are committed to working with the unions to finalise appropriate terms for employees and, wherever possible, to agree support to help them find new jobs and training opportunities. We are confident we will reach agreement on these issues in the coming weeks.”
The new manufacturing plant is expected to be ready in spring 2017.