Three T&N automotive bearings plants employing more than 1,000 people in the UK must be sold off within eight months, the US Federal Trade Commission ruled last week.
The order comes after the acquisition of T&N by Federal-Mogul last year for £1.5bn, which would give the new group the majority of sales to car makers in Europe, and 80% of the market in the US.
The plants involved are part of Glacier Vandervell Europe, T&N’s thin wall and metal-backed polymer dry bearings units serving the automotive industry.
The biggest of the UK plants is at Kilmarnock, employing 750 people. A second Scottish plant, Whitehill, is based between Edinburgh and Glasgow with 350 staff. The third is at Ilminster, England, employing 350 staff making filters as well as bearings. Only the bearings operation at Ilminster will need to be sold.
Under the terms of the FTC order, T&N engineers working on research projects at the Kilmarnock R&D centre will have to be assigned to whichever company buys up the plants.
Other Glacier Vandervell sites in Italy, France, and Germany must also be sold, together with bearings operations in Ohio. Together with the UK businesses, this accounts for £240m annual sales.
T&N’s heavy-wall bearings can be retained by Federal-Mogul, the FTC said.
Federal-Mogul has indicated to the Office of Fair Trading that it intends to comply with the FTC order and British authorities by selling off its thin wall bearings operations.
Any buyer will have to be approved by the DTI.