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German auto parts maker Schaeffler to close two UK factories

Staff Writer |
Germany's Schaeffler will shut two UK factories, prompted in part by Britain's planned exit from the European Union in March, the auto parts maker said on Tuesday.

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The move, which puts hundreds of jobs at risk, comes a day after French tyre maker Michelin said it would close a Scottish factory and as time is running out for an agreed Brexit process, without which trade could be heavily disrupted.

Schaeffler, which makes ball bearings, said its factories in Plymouth, southwest England, and Llanelli in Wales would close over the next couple of years, with production shifting to Germany, China, South Korea and the United States.

Currently, 85 percent of the goods Schaeffler produces in Britain are exported, mainly to continental Europe, the company said. Access to export markets is under threat if Britain is unable to reach a deal with the EU over its departure.

The closure plan follows a review of Schaeffler's global production network that took into account future supply and demand, economic conditions, and decisions being made by carmakers, the German group said.

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