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Bekaert is implementing actions to rebuild the financial performance of the business. We want to raise our competitiveness and upgrade our capability and speed in responding to customer needs and fast moving market developments. We are therefore implementing actions that will improve our competitive position in the market place worldwide by significantly reducing our cost structure, which will help improve the financial performance of the Group sustainably.
These actions include, among others, the intention to restructure certain activities in Belgium. The management of Bekaert has today informed its Belgian and European works councils concerning the proposed measures and their possible impact on the activities and the employment in Belgium. The intended restructuring would affect 281 jobs in Belgium. The management regrets the personal consequences of this plan and, together with the social partners, will evaluate the options to mitigate the social impact.
Intended lines of action:
1. We want to organize ourselves in a more agile and cost-efficient way. We therefore have the intention to move certain activities closer to our operations, in lower cost locations.
We intend to move:
- the production-related standard test lab activities to production plants that have a global service role;
- the spare parts activities to Slovakia, close to our main production plants in Central Europe;
- certain pilot line developments and the upscaling of pilot developments to industrialization. These activities would be located in the relevant 'key learning plants' in order to speed up the development and bring-to-market process of product and process innovations.
2. The EMEA market of steel fibers for concrete reinforcement has become much tougher: our competitors have moved their manufacturing footprint to Central Europe or are sourcing fibers from low cost countries. Bekaert's Dramix® plant in Moen, Belgium, does not have the ability to remain competitive with the current pricing trends in EMEA. The actions to secure our position in the European concrete reinforcement market include the intention to close the Dramix® plant in Moen, Belgium and the further upscaling of the production capacity of the Dramix® plant in Petrovice, Czech Republic.
3. We have the intention to reduce certain activities and align them better with the business needs and the new organizational structure of the Group. This would include a downsizing of administrative and other support roles by better leveraging the potential of standardization, centralization, outsourcing and relocation.
The engineering, technology and functional departments in Belgium will be focusing much more on their respective, global expertise roles and act as strategic business partners. They will be helping the business with the capability to deliver on the short and long term goals.