Consumer giant Procter & Gamble sells last Irish manufacturing plant

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Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble has ended its last manufacturing presence in Ireland with the sale of its oral hygiene factory in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

As part of the deal, which sees the Newbridge plant taken over by Indian healthcare maker Mapaex, Procter & Gamble last month paid 45 million euros into the company’s pension scheme.

It was the latest element of an extended $10.5 million (€9.95 million) sale of the company that was first announced in November 2020.

The factory produces the Oral B range of toothbrushes, dental floss and makeup powder refills as well as cartridge refills for Braun electric shavers.

The sale of the factory marks the end of Procter & Gamble’s manufacturing operations in Ireland, which previously comprised three facilities. The company closed its Braun shaver refill factory in Carlow in 2011, with the loss of 167 jobs, moving Braun operations to Newbridge. In 2016, its Nenagh factory, which produced mascaras and powders for the Max Factor range, was transferred to rival beauty firm Coty as part of a $12.9 billion sale of the business. specialist beauty products from Procter & Gamble.

Coty announced the closure of the Nenagh business a few months later, with the loss of almost 250 jobs.

Transfer of employee

Procter & Gamble says the approximately 350 remaining employees at the Kildare plant will transfer to its new owners. Numbers have been declining in recent years.

The American company has pledged to remove Oral B and Braun products from the factory for the next decade. The plan is for the new Indian owners to bring new product lines to the site which has struggled with excess capacity in recent years.

Profits at what has been Procter & Gamble’s main Irish arm fell by a quarter last year, to 6.1 million euros, in part due to a drop in demand for toothbrushes manual that has characterized the activity in recent years.

Recently filed accounts for Procter & Gamble (Manufacturing) Ireland, for the year ending June 2021, note that the sale of the Newbridge plant to Mapaex was finalized on May 1 this year.

Mapaex is part of the Indian contract manufacturing group Makson Group, whose top customers include Nestlé, Hersheys, Cadburys, Mondelez, Kraft, Reckitt Benckiser, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline and Ranbaxy.

Challenge

Procter & Gamble said Newbridge’s business costs remained a challenge last year, with rising raw material prices only partially offset by internal cost savings and productivity initiatives. The company did not pay any dividends to its parent group.

The US parent company has not received a dividend from the Irish manufacturing company since 2018, when it was paid 21.25 million euros.

The company’s turnover jumped to 109 million euros last year, compared to 67.2 million euros in the 2019/20 period. However, it incurred more than €40 million in restructuring costs, compared to less than €3 million the previous year. Most of this is explained by the depreciation of 36 million euros in the value of the company’s fixed assets due to the transfer of the plant to Mapaex. An additional 4.26 million euros was constituted to provision the costs of transferring personnel to the new activity.

Redundancy costs for the year were just €124,000, compared to almost €2.8 million the previous year.


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