90 jobs go as Medifiq shuts its factory
ALMOST 90 jobs will be lost when a Finnish pharmaceutical company closes its North East factory over the next three months.
Medifiq, which manufactures medical devices such as asthma inhalers, and syringes, has announced that it will be shutting its plant at the Rainton Bridge South Industrial Estate, in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, by the end of April.
Finland-based Medifiq has said it decided to close the plant, its only UK base, on falling demand for its products in the economic slowdown.
Manufacturing will be transferred to the firm’s other bases in Europe, however it will continue to operate a small ‘solution centre’ in Sunderland, which will employ around three people.
Medifiq’s deputy chief executive Seppo Arento said: “We are going to close our manufacturing site in Sunderland, and the plant will close by the end of April.
“The market situation has changed in the UK in our field. There is less demand for our products and we need to take this kind of action. We have other plants in Europe and many products will be manufactured over there.”
The company, whose products have been used on the Mir space station, begun a 30-day consultation period with staff last September about the plant’s closure.
The plant was originally operated by Finland’s Perlos Healthcare, but it is now owned as a joint company, by the Perlos Corporation and Ratos AB, called Medifiq.
The Wearside operation, originally based in Washington, became the Perlos Corporation’s first venture outside of Finland in 1985, and at first manufactured high-level precision plastic phone casings and accessories for customers including, Nokia and Ericsson.
However, it was forced to reassess its product range after a slump in the world telecommunications market – coupled with the rise of low-cost manufacturing in the Far East, which led it to shed around 150 jobs.