Almost 200 jobs to go at Fisher & Paykel Appliances

Company says local executive, not Chinese owner, made decision to offshore production.

See also: Appliances go, R&D stepped up

Fisher & Paykel Appliances told staff this afternoon it will close its East Tamaki factory, which employs 186 people.

The factory, which manufactures a range of small refrigeration products, operates four days a week.

The closures will be phased, probably in July and November, and the factory decommissioned after that.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances managing director and chief executive Stuart Broadhurst told staff this afternoon the closure had nothing to do with their performance.

“Until now the factory’s staff have staved off the inevitable. However, the harsh reality is this factory is no longer sustainable due to the lack of scale and cost-competitiveness the facility and its products face in today’s global whiteware marketplace."

He says staff and union representatives have been kept up-to-date through consultations since 2007 when this outcome was first indicated. The factory has gradually been downsized since then.

Production was suspended after today’s meeting, so staff could break the news to their families.

“Although it has been on everyone’s radar for a considerable period, we recognise this does not diminish the shock of this announcement at a personal level,” says Mr Broadhurst.

“Because of this factory’s proud history and the efforts of all the staff involved, this has been a very tough decision, although we expect it will come as no surprise to those familiar with manufacturing in the whiteware business.”

Fisher & Paykel will continue to produce specialist componentry and production equipment in New Zealand but will no longer manufacture consumer whiteware.

Upgraded models of some of these refrigeration products will be manufactured in future at Fisher & Paykel’s plant in Thailand and through the group in China.

 Mr Broadhurst says the company will try to re-deploy as many people as possible within the organisation, rather than have people leave through redundancy. 

Fisher & Paykel Appliances is owned by China's Haier Group.

A rep for Fisher & Paykel Appliances' PR company told NBR that "This was a decision [to close the East Tamaki factory] taken solely by the executive and board of Fisher & Paykel Appliances."

The F&P Appliances board includes a number of directors from parent company Haier.

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