04/08/2009

Plastics Workers Get Second Chance Of Jobs

The purchase of a bankrupt specialist plastics firm in Co Armagh by a new owner is expected to give the firm's former staff a new lease of life.

Seventy people were working at Reflex Mouldings in Markethill when it went into administration in June.

Now, the workers will be offered new jobs by the firm's new owners.

It has been bought over by FHS Group Ltd, which runs a number of companies specialising in waste management, healthcare waste and recycling.

The Lisburn-based company has said it will offer employment opportunities to all existing staff.

PwC administrator Paul Rooney said: "We were determined to trade the company while seeking a commercial buyer.

"Today is the successful outcome of that process, but this could not have been achieved without the continued support of the bank, workforce, supply-chain, customers and local elected representatives.

"Insolvency is not necessarily the end of the world for a business; this is an example of how administration can save jobs, exports and local-developed innovation."

The company manufactures floor tiles for industrial, commercial and domestic use and number plates and car mats for a variety of local and international customers.

It becomes part of FHS which operates a number of companies trading in a completely different field and operating under the Unicorn brand, specialising in waste management, healthcare waste and recycling solutions.

The amount paid for the business and assets of Reflex has not been disclosed.

Commenting on the outcome, Ulster Unionist MLA for Newry and Armagh, Danny Kennedy said: "This is a very positive development after the gloomy news that devastated the town of Markethill in June."

Speaking this morning to the Belfast News Letter he said: "The company has been a viable employer in the Mid and South Armagh area and I would hope that as we progress out of the current economic recession there might be expansion.

"The main thing now is sustaining company and worker confidence and I believe sincerely that this can be achieved by everyone pulling together.''

The development is the latest good news for the company, which, before the current recession, enjoyed better times.

Three years ago, it announced that it had completed a major investment programme that doubled the company's workforce from 30 to 57, ending up at 70 before the administrators had to be called in.

In 2006, Invest NI cash had helped the firm secure new and profitable export contracts from as far afield as the United Arab Emirates, USA and throughout Europe, before the more recent problems set in.

See: Reflex Successfully Doubles Workforce

(BMcC/KMcA)

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