Satake to end UK plant’s long life

Japanese machinery manufacturer Satake is closing the 110-year-old plant in Cheadle Heath, Cheshire it bought five years ago from Henry Simon Group, and moving production to Japan. The company, which makes flour industry machines, is expected to make 126 of its 200 staff redundant, leaving the remainder to run a sales operation. `The company has […]

Japanese machinery manufacturer Satake is closing the 110-year-old plant in Cheadle Heath, Cheshire it bought five years ago from Henry Simon Group, and moving production to Japan.

The company, which makes flour industry machines, is expected to make 126 of its 200 staff redundant, leaving the remainder to run a sales operation.

`The company has been losing money from the plant,’ said Phil McMahon, UK finance director. `There have been certain contracts where we haven’t been competitive.’

The company has a £15m turnover but is believed to have lost £2m last year and £18.7m over five years.

Satake says its weakness was inability to manage fluctuating demand and it lost orders because it had to build in extra costs for overheads.

`We will be moving the work into a facility in Japan,’ said McMahon. `Japan has a much bigger plant and can cope much more easily with fluctuating demand.’

Unions blamed the closure on mismanagement and lack of investment. `Satake was a Japanese company that promised the earth,’ said Bob Watson, AEEU convener. `Over the five years everything it said has been totally forgotten.’

The unions believe administrative inefficiency drove the company to put 85% of its work out to subcontractors to achieve lead times.

Satake expects to close the site in May.