SKF relocates UK bearings unit to Italy

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The engineering company SKF will be relocating its super precision bearings manufacturing unit from Stonehouse in the UK, to existing production centres in Villar Perosa and Torino, Italy with the loss of 82 British jobs.

SKF said its super precision bearings were used primarily in the machine tool sector, and most of the major European machine tool manufacturers were now based in southern and central Europe. "The company therefore believes that concentrating its development and production resources at its Italian factories will enable it to provide a faster and higher standard of service to key customers," a statement went on. The company said it had been working with employees, unions and outplacement specialists to minimise the impact of the changes. In particular, it had managed to redeploy some employees within other local SKF manufacturing units, while others had taken voluntary redundancy. The factories in Villar Perosa and Torino already manufacture super precision bearings, enabling the transfer of resources to be carried out relatively quickly, in phases between June and August. The specification of all products currently manufactured in the UK will remain unchanged, as will the company's planned programme of new product development.