Wales

Wales businesses which have come and gone in 2019

A compass with a Welsh flag in the middle, with the needle pointing to the word economy Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Where are businesses in Wales headed?

It has been a year of ups and downs for Welsh workers and businesses.

Although employment levels have fallen this year, the rate of people in work remains close to historic highs.

We look back at some of the biggest closures - and openings.

Which businesses and factories have gone or are going?

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ford's Bridgend plant opened in 1980 and originally produced engines for the Ford Escort

In one of the biggest blows this year, it was announced the Ford Bridgend factory will close in September 2020, with the loss of 1,700 jobs. Economy minister Ken Skates said he was "absolutely livid" at Ford's decision to "turn their back on Bridgend". The decision was down to changing customer demand and cost disadvantages, and not Brexit, the company said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hilex supplies parts to manufacturers such as BMW

Hilex Cable System Company makes door and window parts and cables for cars at its plant on Baglan energy park, but in October is announced it would close in 2021 with the loss of around 125 jobs.

The management at the firm, which supplies Honda, Audi and BMW among others, said any business will be transferred to Hungary.

Before the announcement there had been concerns about the potential impact on Hi-lex when Honda announced it would stop production at its Swindon plant in 2021.

Image copyright Google

Schaeffler's automotive factory in Llanelli - a plant that had been in production since 1957 - closed down this year with the loss of 220 jobs.

The company has claimed the "majority of staff" who wished to continue with their careers have successfully found work with other organisations.

Image caption In March work had to stop at Swansea's Kingsway when Dawnus collapsed - the project has since completed (CHECK)

In April construction company Dawnus collapsed owing almost £50m which is "highly unlikely" to be repaid, according to administrators Grant Thornton.

The Swansea-based firm owed unsecured debts of £40.5m to other businesses, £5m to its employees, and £3m in taxes. An update in October said it was unlikely there would be sufficient funds to pay unsecured creditors.

The Welsh Government had given the company a secured loan of £1.5m which may be paid back, but potentially with some shortfall.

Around 700 people were working for the Swansea-based Dawnus Group or its subcontractors when it went under in March.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The company operated over two sites in Merthyr Tydfil county borough

Triumph furniture went bust in October with the loss of 252 jobs after a "catastrophic collapse in orders". The company, which was established in 1946 and had bases in Merthyr Tydfil and Dowlais, supplied more than 600 furniture sellers, and central government. It went into administration after an "unprecedented fall in sales" over the previous 10 weeks.

Chief executive Andrew Jackson said at the time: "The family is devastated by this appalling outcome and are extremely concerned for the welfare of all Triumph employees and their families at this terrible time."

Image caption About 50 employees at Jistcourt lost their jobs

Jistcourt , the Port Talbot construction company founded in 1980, went into administration in June, putting around 50 jobs at risk. Its chairman Rob Norman thanked loyal members of staff, family and friends for supporting the company, which specialised in housing association and local authority developments.

Meanwhile, uncertainty surrounds 380 jobs at Tata's Orb steelworks in Newport, which has been mothballed - with the hope of new buyers coming in to rescue the long-established business.

Which businesses have arrived in Wales?

Image copyright Ineos
Image caption Ineos says the new Bridgend plant will employ 500 people and produce 25,000 cars a year

Despite the disappointments, there have been some high-profile arrivals in Wales.

In September, Ineos Automotive chose Bridgend for the production of its new 4x4 vehicle.

It is expected to initially create around 200 jobs to make the Grenadier, with plans for up to 500 in the long-term.

The company is building a manufacturing and assembly plant and plans to begin production in 2021.

It has received undisclosed support from the Welsh Government, and funding from the UK Government as part of a competition to develop new technologies.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption OXIS Energy has an office in Belo Horizonte, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais

In June, OXIS Energy a rechargeable battery manufacturer, announced it would establish a plant in Port Talbot with the goal of creating hundreds of jobs within the next 10 years.

The OXIS Energy plant will produce components for batteries to power buses and trucks, and will also be used in drones and submarines.

The factory will export to another plant in Brazil, which will complete the rechargeable lithium sulphur batteries.

The company, which is run by Welshman Huw Hampson-Jones, has received £3.2m in investment from the Development Bank of Wales and said it hoped to have created 50 jobs in Port Talbot by the end of 2020.

Image copyright Aston Martin Lagonda
Image caption Aston Martin officially opened its factory in St Athan this month and is producing its new SUV there

Aston Martin began renovating its St Athan factory in 2017 but it did not officially open until this month. They have expanded their staff numbers at the site to 300, with plans to employ 750 when at peak production.

Following a disappointing set of financial results over the summer, the company said the launch of its first Wales-made car - the DBX sports utility vehicle - was "a really important model".

The plant will also be its "home of electrification" where it will build its new Lagonda and RapidE cars, although these will be produced on a much smaller scale.

Image copyright Monzo
Image caption Monzo is a "challenger bank" taking on some of the bigger names in banking

In January, challenger bank Monzo announced 300 jobs in Cardiff at a customer contact centre.

The London-based company was given a grant of almost £1m by the Welsh Government to create 312 jobs over four years, adding to Wales' call centre industry which employs around 32,000.

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