Germany's Schaeffler sells British factory in job securing deal

(Reuters) - German bearings maker Schaeffler has sold its Barden factory in Plymouth, south-west England to a division of HQW Precision GmBH, securing nearly 400 jobs.

Schaeffler said in March it would cut 900 jobs, shut plants and reduce its product range after its 2018 earnings slumped due to weak demand in Europe and China and it warned of a challenging few years ahead for the autos sector.

Schaeffler said in a statement on Tuesday that the Barden factory, which mainly produces machine parts for its industrial division as well as precision bearings for aerospace and defence, will continue to supply it and stay open with all jobs intact.

It did not disclose financial details of the deal.

The company had originally proposed closing two of its three British plants, Llanelli and Plymouth, relocate their production and combine its two logistics centres in a single location.

“The closure of the plant in Llanelli was confirmed after consultation in January this year and the merger of the two logistics centers is on schedule for July,” Schaeffler said.

HQW Precision GmbH, headquartered in the German town of Kürnach, makes high-precision rolling bearings and assemblies.

Lower growth at Schaeffler’s automotive business in the second half of 2018 was due to weaker demand in Europe following new emissions standards and the trade conflict with the United States which hurt orders from China.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith