Yarn firm to shift 160 jobs overseas

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An Annesley textiles factory could axe over 160 jobs and send them overseas to Bulgaria and Italy ‘where operating costs are much lower’.

Workers at Autofil Yarns Ltd, on Sherwood Park, received a letter last Tuesday (28th October) in which the firm said it was ‘considering a number of proposals which could result in a number of redundancies’ over the next 28 months.

Around 134 redundancies could be made in yarn production with jobs moving to Bulgaria from summer next year. And from January 2015, 27 dye house production jobs could be relocated to Biella, near Milan, in Italy.

Managing director Anthony Ullmann said: “This difficult decision has been made due to increasing costs to the business.

“We trade in a niche competitive global market and for the business to remain competitive, it needs to protect its margins so that it can continue to invest in innovation, quality and customer service. This means that 160 jobs are at risk.

“We will be offering our full support to employees affected by this decision, making it a priority to work with local organisations to help these skilled and committed people into their next roles.”

The firm says it may retain 40 jobs in Sherwood Park for research and development, supply chain, quality management, technical service and finance.

By law, the firm is obliged to inform the workforce and open talks with them. Up to five employees will be elected to act as representatives during the two-month consultation process.

Autofil Worldwide Limited was established in 1996 by Michael Heck and Anthony Ullmann to manufacture and supply polyester for the automotive sector.

It began production at its UK headquarters at Sherwood Park, in 1997.

In 2000, Autofil joined forces with Italian polyester yarn producer Sinterama, based in Biella, for operations in Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico and China.

Mr Ullmann built the business to sales of £40m and a 35 per cent share of the European automotive yarn market.

Last year year he was embroiled in a political row when he donated £30,000 to the Liberal Democrats.

Party leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg visited Autofill Worldwide Ltd’s factory on November 8th 2013, and it was later revealed that Mr Ullmann will make 20 donations of £1,500 a month to Mr Clegg in the run-up to the election.

During his visit Mr Clegg claimed hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost in the East Midlands if Britain pulls out of the European Union

In September 2012, Sinterama bought out Autofil Holdings Ltd..