Fishing factory axes 27 jobs

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MORE than a quarter of the workforce at Alnwick’s world-famous Hardy and Greys fishing tackle factory will be laid off, after it posted losses of nearly half-a-million pounds.

The company, which employs around 100 people at its Willowburn site, has announced it will cut 27 posts ‘across the board’, following a slump in the UK market.

Managing director Richard Sanderson has since resigned and been replaced by previous MD and non-executive director Richard Maudslay.

However, the company says its German and US operations are performing well and will not be affected by the domestic downturn. Its distribution centre in Cramlington is also safe.

Mr Maudsley told the Gazette: “The posts will be lost over the next few weeks.

“Things are going well in the US and growing in Germany where we have our European base, but the UK market is flat and we are not anticipating growth over the short-term future. We have had to make a sad decision, like so many other businesses, over balancing our income with our expenditure.”

Local MP Sir Alan Beith said: “Hardy and Greys is a very valued and reliable employer in Alnwick. The loss of jobs there is really sad news. It is almost certainly a consequence of markets across the world being in poor health at the moment.

“Hardy and Greys are big exporters and they rely on customers who use top-quality equipment. I am not surprised that the market is not strong.”

County councillor for the town, Gordon Castle, said: “Alnwick and the surrounding area will feel the loss of these valuable jobs disproportionately.

“It will not only have an impact on those who have been made redundant, and their families, but also on the wider community.

“It is a sad sign of the times that even a firm as famous and well-respected as Hardy and Greys is not immune to the ongoing financial crisis.”

The company’s most recent accounts for the year ending December 31, 2010, showed a loss of £446,000, compared to a loss of £530,000 the previous year.

Turnover, however, was £12.84million, up from £12.57million in 2009.