Recticel today notified the works council of the Wetteren plant (Belgium) that it plans to restructure a number of activities.
Interior Solutions (Automotive) has been particularly hard hit by the structural problems in the automotive sector. At present, Recticel manufactures components for the Mercedes C class from 3 plants; this includes Wetteren, which supplies the dashboard skins. The present contract expires at the end of 2010.
However, for this model's facelift the customer has explicitly asked for these components to be supplied from a single site in Germany as of 2011. This request is based on quality aspects, other technical criteria and the need to save on logistics expenses. In consequence, this production department in Wetteren would have to close before the end of 2010.
The current economic crisis is also affecting the Flexible Foams business line. These activities in the Wetteren plant are currently confronted with far lower volumes for the automotive sector and falling demand from the industrial capital goods sector and the furniture industry.
In this context, Recticel is also forced to adapt staffing in its support services accordingly. If the planned restructuring is carried out, this will lead to the collective redundancy of 110 employees, i.e. 79 blue-collar and 31 white-collar workers. The best possible social measures will be sought together with the unions.
Currently 653 people work at the Wetteren site (Belgium).