Northampton

Corby firm's '500 jobs' promise sees 10 people employed

A Taiwanese company which promised to create 500 jobs in Northamptonshire is employing just 10 people, The East Midlands Development Agency has said.

Kenmark International Limited moved to Eurohub, Corby, in 2009 after a £416,000 grant was given to support the firm's investment in the UK.

A condition of the grant was that 100 jobs should be created by the electrical manufacturer within a year.

The EMDA said Kenmark may now be required to repay the grant.

Kenmark specialises in making flat-screen televisions and the factory in Corby was to be the company's main European facility.

Job hopes

Kenmark's arrival in Corby, announced in October 2009, was described by the EMDA as the biggest foreign investment in the East Midlands since the 1990s when Toyota opened a base in Derby and Capital One in Nottingham.

EMDA chairman Bryan Jackson said at the time he was delighted at the job prospects.

The Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited chairman Paul Southworth said he was "thrilled" to welcome the company to the county.

In July 2009, shortly before Kenmark's move to Corby was made public, a grant of £416,000 was paid to it. According to EMDA this was to support its investment in the UK.

Following a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, EMDA revealed the restrictions placed on the grant.

Kenmark was contracted to deliver "at one year date: 100 people employed... in the business or based at the business premises".

It was also required at three years to have "300-500 people employed... in the business or based at the business premises".

Grant investigated

Kenmark has not responded to requests for its current staffing levels but the EMDA said that in February there were 10 staff employed by Kenmark "although up to 80 people have been employed".

This falls well below the agreed number of employees.

The company assembled 100,000 LCD televisions between September 2009 and May 2010, said EMDA.

A statement from the development agency said it understood the company was currently going through a global restructuring process, following the slump in the worldwide economy.

A renegotiation of Kenmark's grant is now being investigated.

The EMDA said: "In such cases, we will work with the business to agree revised timescales for the outputs.

"If, following any renegotiation, the company still fails to achieve the desired outputs, we will take relevant measures to seek either full or partial repayment of the grant as appropriate."

In late March, a meeting was held between Kenmark, the EMDA and other organisations to find a way forward for the company.

Kenmark has not yet responded to requests for an interview.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites