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FKI to shut plants and shed 700 workers.

Debt-laden engineering group FKI said yesterday it planned to close or sell parts of its business with the loss of 700 jobs.

London-based FKI said it would shut eight loss-making units with a combined turnover of pounds 50 million and sell four more, leaving it with five key businesses.

The group, which had debts of nearly pounds 500 million in March, said about 350 of the job losses would take place in the UK, with the rest coming from its overseas operations. FKI refused to identify the businesses to be closed or sold. But it said those being retained include Retford-based steel wire rope unit Bridon International, Belgian-based rope equipment maker Crosby, Loughborough-based materials handling business Logistex, Brush Electrical Machines and door and window business Truth & Wright.

FKI employs more than 14,500 people, operates mainly in Europe and North America and has customers in most countries.

The group's Brush Traction unit at Loughborough refurbishes locomotives and other divisions make waste compactors, transformers, switchgear and wind turbines.

The cuts follow a strategic review launched against a background of depressed markets for many of the group's products, three years of declining profits and rising debts. The company said globalisation and growing competition from overseas manufacturers with lower costs were among the factors that had prompted the shake-up.

Chief executive Paul Heiden, who initiated the review after joining the company from his previous post as finance director at Rolls-Royce, said it had begun consultations with staff and unions about the cuts.

He refused to identify most of the affected sites.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 28, 2004
Words:258
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