AGC Glass Europe plans to make 47 redundancies and cut production capacity at its Seneffe plant, Belgium.
The glass manufacturer said it would make the cutbacks within the Transport & Industrial Vehicles (TIV) activity, which specialises in the railways market.
The railway segment has suffered in numerous years of insufficient industrial performance leading to structural financial losses for AGC’s TIV activity.
In 2019, increased production volume generated a first positive financial result but in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, its TIV activity was hit by a sudden decrease in market demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The global spread of the virus is led to a strong decrease of the TIV markets for its Original Equipment Manufacturing and its After-Market.
Rolling Stock manufacturers have suffered from a slowdown of the production chain. Train fleet operators have drastically decreased the number of vehicles in service, as well as their maintenance in order to limit their operating costs.
The decision makers for investment in railway fleet are taking decisions to postpone or even cancel some acquisitions in order to keep the cash necessary for other purposes.
Furthermore, independently from the Covid-19 virus, the main European train fleet operators tend to reduce their orders for glazing for replacement. Some major European train operators suffered losses of income, forcing them to implement persistent cost reduction programmes.
The European Union announced 2021 as the European Year of Rail, promoting transport by railway. If this shift towards a sustainable and smart mobility is confirmed, the manufacturing and the revamping of trains should increase in 2022 and 2023, leading to an increase in glazing demand from 2024.
The Seneffe plant employs 210 people and plans to reduce its workforce by 47 people. A social plan, as well as the accompanying measures, will be studied with the various partners concerned.