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Biomet Consolidates UK Operations

Biomet Inc., an orthopedic technology company based in Warsaw, Ind., is consolidating its United Kingdom operations by cutting more than 200 jobs. The company has begun its move out of Swindon, England, to its facility in Bridgend, Wales, where all U.K. production will take place.

According to the Swindon Advertiser, the closure date was expected to be next March, but 91 positions already have been eliminated, and another 140 are expected to follow by year’s end. Executives said the move was a response to increasing global economic pressures and a need to deliver cost-effective product solutions.

“Biomet U.K. Ltd announced that the Swindon manufacturing plant would close back in December 2011,” said Les Murray, human resources director for the company. “The estimated closure date at that time was March 2014. Two hundred and thirty employees were affected by this decision and some 50 were not and will remain in Swindon offices. To date, some 91 team members have left our employment, many of them at their request on finding jobs and with full redundancy payments. At the end of this month, a further 49 team members are scheduled to leave, with a further 38 leaving in July. This will leave us with 46 remaining manufacturing employees still working. Some six employees have or are going to relocate and keep working for Biomet in Bridgend. The transfer of work will be complete by the end of this calendar year, which is ahead of our original schedule and reflects excellent cooperation in both Bridgend and Swindon. There has been a management reorganization within the U.K. which is now predominantly based in Bridgend but this had no direct link to performance regarding the Swindon plant closure.”

Former Biomet employee Nick Bonham told the Advertiser, “The factory is being closed down because all the work, they said, could be done in Bridgend. I think they have made a mistake because they thought the work could be done but they didn’t understand how much work was done in Swindon. I think they have struggled. It is another big blow for the Swindon economy.”

In Dec. 2011 when the move was announced, Corporate Vice President of government affairs, public affairs, and corporate communication Bill Kolter defended the company’s decision to move out of Swindon. “The proposal to locate U.K. manufacturing in Bridgend was the logical choice. Bridgend is a much larger facility with available floor space and able to accommodate the equipment and jobs Biomet proposes moving. In contrast, the Swindon facility is constrained in its ability to expand, and could not accommodate a transfer of manufacturing from another site.”

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