Kion Group, the parent company of Linde Material Handling, is closing the Linde Basingstoke factory as part of a Europe-wide consolidation plan.
Production will be transferred from the Basingstoke site to larger plants in Europe over the next 12 months.
As a result, 350 jobs will be lost out of the total 550 employed at the site.
The global market for forklift trucks dropped 50 per cent in the first few months of 2009, following a fall of more than eight per cent last year. And for 2009 as a whole, the global market is expected to contract by 45 per cent compared to 2008.
Kerry McDonagh, (pictured) chief executive of Linde Material Handling, UK, said: “We have thoroughly examined all alternatives to a cessation of production in Basingstoke. However, we concluded that all other product transfer options would not be feasible. For economic reasons, as a result of the dramatic market deterioration, the high fragmentation of production in relatively small plants necessitates a concentration on major sites. Much to our regret, the relocation of the reach trucks, counter-balance trucks and tractor product lines to larger factories is inevitable.”
Gordon Riske, Kion Group’s chief executive, said: “The severity of the global economic crisis is exceeding all expectations and we believe that the first signs of recovery will not be seen before 2010 at the earliest. These unforeseen, far-reaching changes to the market will – despite our strong market position and recent market share gains – continue to affect our business into the next decade and thus require decisive, forward-looking action.
“In order to strengthen the global competitiveness of our brands and secure the long-term future of our company, we have to adapt our capacities to the new economic reality.”
Activities, such as sales & marketing, aftersales and administration will remain in the Basingstoke area. Also, the Linde factory in Merthyr Tydfil will continue to produce heavy and container trucks for the global market. On a Group level some 1,750 people will continue to serve customers of the Kion brands in the UK.