27.03.09

Hitachi closes Czech plant

Hitachi has been forced to close its Czech plasma television manufacturing plant due to “dramatically falling demand”.

The Japanese electronics giant blamed falling prices and demand on its decision and is expected to loose 800 staff, employed at the factory, by the end of April. Hitachi is currently bracing itself for a $7.1 billion (€5.3 billion) loss in the year to March and is embarking on huge cost cutting exercises in a bid to save 500 billion yen (€4 billion) in the next financial year.

The company said in a statement it planned to end production of plasma TVs in the plant by the end of March.

“We very much regret this unavoidable decision to close HHCZ due to the severe economic conditions right across Europe which have significantly reduced consumer demand,” said John Conlon, executive director of Hitachi Home Electronics.

Conlon said the company does not plan to relocate the production facility to another market.
Hitachi started production in the plant in October 2007. It originally planned to employ up to 1,500 people in the facility located near the northwestern town of Zatec.

The Japanese company received 246 million koruna (€9 million) as financial incentives from the Czech state and said the money will be returned.

Many Japanese exporters are feeling the pinch as the global market reduces its demand for electronics. Exports fell 49.4 per cent in February compared to the same month in 2008.

The news follows an iSuppli report that said growth in Plasma panel exports would slow dramatically this year.