Hi-Lex: 125 jobs to go at Port Talbot car parts firm

BMW car Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The company supplies parts to manufacturers including BMW

A car parts firm has announced it will close in 2021, with the loss of about 125 jobs.

Hi-Lex Cable System Company makes door and window parts and cables for cars at its plant on Baglan energy park.

Management at the firm, which supplies Honda, Audi and BMW among others, said it did not anticipate any redundancies in the next 12 months.

Any remaining business at the plant in 2021 will be transferred to a Hi-Lex plant in Hungary.

A statement issued by the company said the decision had been taken following a meeting at the parent company, Hi-Lex Corporation in Japan, which discussed a restructure of its European operations.

It continued: "Hi-Lex Corporation regrets the need for the decision to re-structure its operations, but it is based solely upon a significant reduction in the sales forecast at HCS, from 2021 onwards.

"Hi-Lex will now contact all of our supply chain partners to discuss and agree plans to meet the needs of our customers up to the closure of the HCS facility."

Adam Glaznieks, managing director at the Port Talbot site, said: "The reason for making the announcement now is that we need to commence preparations to transfer any remaining business after 2021 to the Hi-Lex plant in Hungary."

The leader of Neath Port Talbot council, Rob Jones, said the closure would be "keenly felt" in the area and the authority would try to support workers "wherever we can into new employment".

Hi-Lex was founded in 1946 and has 50 sites in 18 countries across North America, Europe and Asia.

Image caption Hi-Lex Cable System Company is based at Baglan energy park

Analysis by Brian Meechan, BBC Wales business correspondent

The car industry is facing serious challenges - there's been a drop in demand for diesel cars in the UK, sales abroad have slowed and the industry and consumers have been slow to respond to the development of electric vehicles.

Uncertainty over the future trading relationship with the EU after Brexit is also a headache in an industry that's heavily integrated, with components being manufactured and transferred across borders.

There were concerns about the potential impact on Hi-Lex when Honda announced it would stop production at its Swindon plant in 2021.

Ford in Bridgend will close next year and there have been job losses in Llanelli at Calsonic Kansei and Schaeffler.

It's not all been bad news for the industry though - Aston Martin will take on 1,000 workers at St Athan and Ineos could create up to 500 jobs in the long term at its Bridgend site.

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