Quinn mothballs €150m plant
SEAN Quinn, the man who has lost over a billion euro in Anglo Irish Bank shares, is mothballing his petrochemical interests in Germany.
Sources at the Leipzig plant have revealed that Peter Kelly, a Quinn Chemicals high-flier, jetted in to the chemicals site last Monday and told the workforce that the entire business was being put on ice over a six-month period.
Virtually all the staff have been issued with termination notices, except a couple of key employees who will complete any large outstanding contracts with clients.
Sean Quinn originally sunk €150m into the Leipzig plant in 2005, with hopes that it would be in production by 2008. But last year the Group called a halt to construction of the plant due to heavy cost overruns. At the time the company insisted that the move was merely a postponement but that the project would eventually go ahead despite the "demobilisation" of half the staff. The latest setback has convinced insiders that the enterprise will never take off. Officially the Quinn Group is blaming world markets. But sources at the plant suggest there are other factors at work.
In a statement last night the Quinn Group insisted that they made a "decision in 2007 to slow down the original construction schedule of the Leuna Project in light of the deteriorating economic conditions and in order to better manage costs. In the context of the continued and increased uncertainty in the current world market this has proved to be a very timely decision and allowed an orderly slowdown of the project.
"While some work is continuing on the site , currently this is with a reduced workforce .
"The project will ramp up again and continue to completion when world market conditions improve."