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Independent.ie

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Shock for Kanturk as well-known dairy firm to close

Packo Fullwood to pack up and move production back to belgium, resulting in 24 job losses

Fullwood Packo factory in Kanturk. Image: Google Street View.
Fullwood Packo factory in Kanturk. Image: Google Street View.

Maria Herlihy

THE assembly facility at Fullwood Packo in Kanturk will close with the loss of 24 jobs which will put the "majority of employees at risk of redundancy."

The plant at Ballymaquirke has been designing and manufacturing milking machines and cooling tanks since the 1970s. 

The Corkman reports that on Wednesday, the company stated that in order to make it a "fully capable production facility, instead of just an assembly facility, another €2 million would need to be spent on investment in machines for laser cutting, laser welding and robot welding." 

In a statement by the company, they said a 30 day consultation process has begun with staff and Fullwood Packo, Belgium proposed to "close the business" by mid September. 

"The investment necessary to remain operating is not a viable option and it is not sustainable for Packo Blackwater Ltd to continue trading with the current operating model in Ireland.

We plan to continue operating in Ireland on a sales basis only with our affiliated company Packo Fullwood Farm Services Ltd and move all assembly of products back to Belgium" stated a circular to employees". 

However, it stated that Packo Fullwood Farm Services Ltd will continue to "employ eight staff in the local area". The company has stated that they have engaged in an external company, 'The HR Department' to support them through the process.

 It stated that the production roles, finance and control, management, general office and administrative, and inside sales will "cease to exist". 

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However, the roles which will remain unchanged and which will transfer to Packo Fullwood Farm Services Ltd on existing terms and conditions will be the sales representatives. Moreover, they are seeking two new roles for warehouse administrators and an office administrator. 

The company stated that its rationale to transfer the manufacturing from Ireland back to Belgium is "necessary to improve the customer experience in Ireland." 

"Historically, many of the Fullwood Packo products sold throughout Ireland have always been manufactured in Belgium and shipped directly to the farm in Ireland. By moving production to Belgium, we will not only be able to accelerate the pace of new innovations, but also deliver improved lead times and competitive pricing to our dairy farmers, in turn helping to improve their efficiency and profitability," stated the circular. 

Regarding any possibility of investment to remain operating in Kanturk, it stated that investments need to be centralised in one production place. 

"The minimum hurdle on the Republic of Ireland can't be realised in the production plant  in Ireland because of the low level of turnover" read the statement.

Corkman

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