HP Inc is cutting almost 500 jobs at its north Kildare operation over the next 12 months as it closes its global print business at its Leixlip site.
In a statement, the company said it was “likely” that close to 500 HP employees will lose their jobs as part of the closure.
The company currently employs around 500 people at the facility. A small staff will stay on to maintain a local presence in Ireland, with the company confirming it would keep a small sales team here.
“This decision is not a reflection on our Ireland employees or on the site’s performance,” the company said. “Ireland will remain a key market for HP, where we will maintain the sales operations for our printing and personal systems business.”
However, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which is located at the same Leixlip site, is unaffected by the cuts. The cloud computing and software business, which was split from the PC and printer division in November 2015, is believed to employ around 2,000 people.
The news will come as a blow to the affected staff, and is part of a global restructuring announced by HP Inc in October last year. The company said it would cut between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs worldwide. The move is expected to save the company between $200 million and $300 million per year.
“It’s really about the need to consolidate to fewer sites. Ireland, relatively speaking, is a smaller site and we see an opportunity to move activities to larger sites, consolidate those activities there and to achieve operational efficiencies and organisational efficiencies as well,” said HP Inc’s general manager Maurice O’Connell.
“Truthfully employees have been very disappointed, they’re saddened by the news, it’s been a long relationship with HP in general, we’ve had people with 22 years’ service here. HP has been a great employer and it’s a sad day for employees.”
Employees will be offered an enhanced redundancy package, the company said, with some offered the chance to move to the new sites - potentially Singapore or the US, although the company has not yet announced a firm decision.
“We’re interested in retaining talent where we can,” Mr O’Connell said.
IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said the decision by HP to close the print business in Ireland was “regrettable”, but IDA Ireland was seeking buyers for the plant.
“Many of (the affected employees) have been with HP since they first commenced operations there in 1995,” he said. HP Inc’s decision is regrettable and is driven by company specific issues in light of global market developments and runs counter to the flow of technology investment we continue to see into Ireland.”
HP has worked with IDA Ireland since it set up in Leixlip in 1995. Mr Shanahan said the agency had worked to save the site, but was unsuccessful.
“Over the years, we have worked with the company to secure continued investment and, in this instance, we had put forward proposals to ensure HP Inc’s continued investment in Ireland, but it has not been possible to secure the site,” he said. “IDA Ireland will continue to work with the company in the time ahead to secure a buyer for the Leixlip site. Securing investment for Kildare and the surrounding region is a continuing priority.”
Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor confirmed efforts had been made to save the jobs.
“I note with regret that the redundancies are arising on account of the company’s global efficiency strategy to accelerate their business transformation,” she said. “I have asked that all the supports of the state will be made available to any workers affected by this decision. I have spoken with my colleague Leo Varadkar, Minister for Social Protection, and he has confirmed that officials in his Department are being deployed to brief staff on State supports and re-training options.”
HP opened its first office in Ireland in 1976, with the Leixlip facility following in 1995, and grew its workforce to thousands of employees over the years, expanding its reach into manufacturing, research and development, customer software support, marketing, and sales and services. Located in its main premises in Leixlip, the company also set up in in Galway and Dublin.
The global company has seen several acquisitions over the years, including a merger with computer maker Compaq in 2002 and its purchase of Palm in 2010.
But the PC industry has suffered in recent years as a shift towards smartphones and tablets affected demand for laptops and desktops.
In 2014, Hewlett Packard said it planned to separate its business into two entities - Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which would look after the cloud computing and software business, and HP Inc, which would take care of the computer and printer business. That split was completed in 2015.
Although they are now separate companies, HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are still located at the same site in Leixlip, with the latter employing around 2,000 people. It also has operations in Galway.