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Linde Ends Forklift Production in Basingstoke

After 60 years of forklift production at Basingstoke, Linde’s announcement to close its plant there next year marks the end of an era of high volume British Forklift production. All manufacturing and engineering activities at the Linde "ultra modern manufacturing facility" in Basingstoke are to be transferred to France and Germany.

Linde said the cuts, which will be made over the next 12 months, are down to the global recession and a major downturn in demand for its products.

Kerry McDonagh, chief executive of Linde Material Handling (UK) Ltd, said: "We have thoroughly examined all alternatives to a cessation of production in Basingstoke. However, we concluded that all other product transfer options would not be feasible."

Job losses of 350 will follow but some 200 will remain in Basingstoke to cover sales and marketing, after-sales and administration.

The Basingstoke site oversaw the design and manufacture of electric counterbalance trucks, reach trucks and tow tractors.

In April, the firm announced it was planning to cut 88 jobs from its other UK site, Merthyr Tydfil, which produces its heavy truck range.

Linde MH has struggled in the UK market over the last eight years, in common with many competitors, racking up accumulated pre-tax losses of over GBP22million (USD35 million), plagued by cost pressures and competitor activity. But it did not help itself by paying salaries substantially higher than the industry average.

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