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Talks next week over possible job cuts at Limerick jewellery company

Limerick costume jewellery maker Andersen was saved in 2012 but sales levels have not improved to required levels. SIPTU is to meet with management next week.

Image: Photocall Ireland!

Updated at 6.51pm

RECESSION-HIT LIMERICK has received more bad news today in an announcement from PL Holdings that it is to shut its jewellery manufacturing facility, putting 169 jobs at risk.

A liquidator from KPMG will be appointed to the Rathkeale-based company, Andersen Ireland, on 23 September 2013.

The parent firm said the costume jewellery manufacturer was put into voluntary liquidation due to “continued losses generated by significant over capacity issues at its production facility”.

Staff had been placed on a three-day week prior to the decision to shut the factory, which makes costume jewellery and accessories for independent sales agents in Germany, Austria, Switzerland France and Italy.

The business will continue to trade for the next two weeks before the liquidator, Kieran Wallace, assesses its viability.

According to management, he will engage with employees to see if some positions can be protected.

The company had been through an insolvency process in 2012 when PL Holdings acquired them in December that year with an aim to turn the business around through revitalising sales. However, the market for costume jewellery had been impacted by the economic crisis and increasing competition.

A statement from PL Holdings explained that during the insolvency period, Andersen suffered a “significant reduction in the number of sales agents available to sell its products”.

“The envisaged improvement in sales has not materialised to the extend required to keep the production facility viable,” it added, “leading to significant losses this year, which make the steps taken necessary.

“PL Holdings were determined to revitalise sales however, the level of sales required to protect its future has not yet proved possible.  It is incumbent on management and the directors of the business to address the overcapacity issues and stem unsustainable losses. Measures announced will stabilise the overall group and position PL Holdings on a stronger commercial footing in Europe to enable it to compete more effectively.”

SIPTU confirmed in a statement tonight that it will hold meetings with management next week as a result of today’s announcement.

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Local organiser Denis Gormalley, said: “The threat to jobs posed by the announcement that this long established manufacturing company has entered into liquidation has left the workers and their families in a state of shock”.

He said workers were  angered when they were informed of the liquidation at a meeting today “in particular, due to the fact that union representatives were in talks with local management only two weeks ago on how to work through the company’s present difficulties and preserve workers’ job”.

He said it was now clear that the parent company had abandoned this course of action.

Additional reporting, Daragh Brophy.

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