Engineering company Fenner is to restructure its conveyor belt business in North America and said it would cut about 20 per cent of jobs in the unit, as it tries to ride out a slump in demand from the US coal industry.
The Hessle-based group, which has been hit by the fall in oil prices, said annual cost savings from the restructuring are expected to be £10m. The cut to the conveyor belt business would see the loss of 160 jobs.
Fenner said the restructre would bring added focus on industrial belt markets with improvements in customer service levels and manufacturing efficiency, coupled with industry-specific new product development.
The plans will also bring a change of focus within the coal sector towards customers who are able to withstand the challenges presented in their markets.
Fenner last week said CEO Nick Hobson has taken a temporary leave of absence due to physical ill health.
Mark Abrahams, nonexecutive chairman, has agreed to step in as executive chairman on an interim basis and will work with finance director John Pratt.
Mr Abrahams joined Fenner in 1990 and was CEO from 1994 until 2011 when he became nonexecutive chairman.
The Hessle-based group, which is experiencing challenging market conditions, said Mr Abrahams has 25 years’ experience with the group and extensive knowledge of its operations.
Mr Abrahams said: “Everyone inside and outside the company wishes Nick the best for a speedy recovery. We believe it to be a serious condition and we hope for the best.”