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Car parts maker C&F relocates German operation to Ireland

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BMW, Ford, Mercedes and VW are among the firm's customers for the car components. Stock photo: Reuters

BMW, Ford, Mercedes and VW are among the firm's customers for the car components. Stock photo: Reuters

BMW, Ford, Mercedes and VW are among the firm's customers for the car components. Stock photo: Reuters

Galway wind turbine and car components manufacturer C&F Group, which reported EBITDA of €7m on €91m of sales in its most recent accounts, is closing down a factory in Germany that makes car components and moving the operations back here.

The firm, which is owned by Athenry-based engineer and entrepreneur John Flaherty, has been undergoing an extensive restructuring in recent years. He won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008.

"An insolvency administrator was appointed to the German subsidiary by the German courts and that process is ongoing. The board intends to work in close co-operation with the administrator to bring the process to a successful conclusion for all parties," the accounts state.

BMW, Ford, Mercedes and VW are among the firm's customers for the car components.

Reports in the German media said that there are about 90 employees at the C&F Automotive factory in question, in Neunkirchen, which generates revenues of about €12m a year. Senior staff at the firm are said to have approached potential investors in the industry who might be prepared to take over the business.

C&F Automotive employs about 340 people in Collinstown, Co Westmeath, where the German operations will be transferred.

It manufactures exterior trim and other components for cars. The factory there has seen investment in skills and processes in recent months, and continued investment in its operations and efficiency are to follow, it is understood.

"The outlook for 2018 is very positive with an anticipated ebitda in excess of 8pc and further significant strengthening of the balance sheet," the accounts statement added.

It is understood the firm is achieving significant sales of its wind turbines after investing a substantial amount in the division.

C&F Group employs over 1,000 people across operations here, as well as in the Philippines, Czech Republic, China, UK and US.

It spent three years securing certification so that its turbines can be deployed in Japan, where they had to undergo rigorous testing to prove they can withstand extreme weather such as earthquakes and typhoons.

The move is now paying off through growing sales in Japan and more recently the US, while 2018 will see it target Australia and the rest of Asia, it is believed.

Its turbines range in size from 11kw to 250kw, and are suited to smaller sites than typically required by larger turbines and farms or industrial sites.

The company also carries out contract manufacturing for the IT, refrigeration and air conditioning sectors, for customers such as IBM, EMC and Thermo King.

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Flaherty did not return calls or emails.


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