CeramTec plant - which employs some 80 people - is facing closure because of continuing losses

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One of the Axe Valley’s biggest employers is facing closure.

CeramTec has issued a warning that the future of its Colyton factory is in serious doubt because of continuing losses.

Some 80 people are employed at the plant which has operated in the town for nearly 50 years.

News that the international company’s UK base is at risk came in a statement from Sigurd Adler, chief technical officer.

He said: “The profitability and viability of the CeramTec UK Ltd production facility at Colyton has declined steadily over the last 10 years.

“Huge efforts have been made by the company and its hardworking employees to improve profitability through a variety of initiatives, but these have sadly not been enough to counter the effect of the overall economic situation, and changing market conditions affecting the group’s UK business.

“There seems little prospect of significant future improvement.

“The group is therefore considering closing production at its Colyton facility, selling the site and passing current products to their group global network. If that were to happen, the group would be able to make and distribute these products at a reduced overall cost, with a view to extending their viable life within the group.

“This possibility unfortunately means that a number of jobs may be at risk, and the company has now started a consultation process with workplace representatives about this.

“During that consultation process, the company will try to reach agreement with representatives on a number of issues, including ways and means of avoiding or reducing the number of redundancy dismissals, and mitigating their consequences.

“If following consultation the decision is taken to close production at Colyton, the group will try to support staff in any way it can.

“The CeramTec Group is very sorry to have to make this announcement, particularly when the UK Company has worked so hard to try to bring the factory into profitability.”

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