Moulinex files for bankruptcy

 

The payment of redundancies to 230 workers at Moulinex-Brandt's GMX plant in Thurles, Co Tipperary, is not expected to be affected by yesterday's decision by the French parent household appliances company to file for bankruptcy.

"Moulinex just has put itself under legal administration," chief executive Mr Patrick Puy said at a news conference at the company headquarters near Paris yesterday.

He said the board had reached an impasse in negotiations with its main shareholder, the Italian group, El.fi, over a global restructuring plan announced last April.

As part of that plan, the Thurles plant, which makes coffee grinders, blenders and kettles and was profit-making, was to begin a phased closure on December 31st which is expected to be completed by March next.

However, agreements on redundancy payments have been made between company and worker representatives.

This follows the intervention of the Minister for Defence, Mr Smith, in whose constituency the plant is, and Shannon Development representatives who travelled to Moulinex-Brandt's Paris headquarters to negotiate the issue.

The acting chief executive of Shannon Development, Mr Kevin Thompstone, said the decision to seek bankruptcy post-dated agreements with key parties in the Republic including Shannon Development.

"In this context we expect the company to honour all its commitments including agreements with workers at the Thurles facility."

Mr Puy did not expect the company to be liquidated because of the bankruptcy filing.

The group reported a loss of £102 million (€130 million) for 2000 and was increasingly suffering from competition from the far east.

It also owned the former Krups factory in Co Limerick which closed in 1998 with the loss of 500 jobs.