Wärtsilä moving production to Asia
Cutbacks not affecting Finland yet
Ship engine and generator manufacturer Wärtsilä is transferring some of its production to China, and plans to slash 1,400 jobs worldwide.
The cutbacks are not leading to job losses in Finland for now, even though the company plans to stop production of generating sets in Vaasa. Their manufacture is moving to Shanghai.
Further details on the changes will emerge by the summer.
The company says that the main reason for the changes is the collapse in shipbuilding and the concentration of the industry in Asia. Most new ships are being built in China, South Korea, or Japan.
Wärtsilä CEO Ole Johansson notes that China has become a strong centre of the shipbuilding industry, and its growth is continuing. “China is a very important market area”, he said at a press conference in Helsinki on Tuesday.
Johansson said that the aim of the moves is to improve Wärtsilä’s competitiveness.
The country most severely hit by the measures will be The Netherlands, which sill lose nearly 600 Wärtsilä jobs. The Dutch operations to be shut down are propeller production in Drunen and the components manufacture of DTS in Zwolle.
Wärtsilä employs more than 18,500 people worldwide, nearly 1,600 of whom are in The Netherlands.
In Finland, Wärtsilä has about 3,400 employees, 2,800 of whom are in Vaasa. In addition to Vaasa, Wärtsilä has activities in Helsinki, Espoo, Turku, and Raisio.
Last year approximately 150 Wärtsilä jobs were cut in Vaasa, most of which were fixed term positions. Currently only 25-30 employees work in the production of generating sets.
“This decision will not necessarily have any personnel impact in Vaasa or Finland at this time. We have full employment here. Those who have been working in production of generator sets have already moved to other departments”, says head shop steward Sauli Mielty from the Vaasa plant.
Finland has been the focus of Wärtsilä production, but China will be bigger when production of propellers and auxiliary engines moves there. “The trend is probably that in some time, China will be the biggest in the number of employees”, Kytölä says.
Wärtsilä will continue to manufacture four-stroke maritime engines in Vaasa, and in the Italian city of Trieste.
Research and development work is to continue in the company’s European locations.
Wärtsilä’s result for 2009 will be released on Thursday. It is expected to show improved profitability from 2008, and a 14 per cent increase in turnover.
However, Johansson says that the current poor market situation affecting the company this year, with a decline in turnover of between 10 and 20 per cent.
Press release 19.01.2010 Wärtsilä plans to reduce its manufacturing footprint and to move part of production to China