Sharp Strikes 'Hammer Blow' Before Christmas Unveiling 250 Job Losses in Wrexham

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By Ian Silvera | December 17, 2013 2:13 AM EST

A worker prepares a display of Sharp flat panel televisions for the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show (Reuters)

Electronics giant Sharp is to slash 250 jobs at its Wrexham manufacturing plant with the shutdown of its solar panel production unit.

Sharp Europe, which is owned by Japanese multinational Sharp Corporation, announced the plant will be closed by the end of February.

It said the decision was part of structural reforms in line with the corporation's medium-term management Plan, which was announced in May.

The firm said the plan was accelerated by the rapid commoditisation of the UK and European solar panel markets.

"It is with sincere regret that we have decided to end solar panel production in Wrexham," said Hiroshi Sasaoka, Sharp chief executive officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"Our employees are our greatest asset, and we have been fortunate to have a loyal, hard-working and committed workforce since we began solar production here in 2004.

"The Wrexham facility will continue to produce microwave ovens, and we will be investigating additional products for development."

Sasaoka said that Sharp's European solar business is currently in the process of transforming to ensure its regeneration and long-term growth.

"Market conditions in Europe have become increasingly severe over the past eighteen months. A 30% drop in the unit price of European solar panels since the beginning of 2012 has left Wrexham's output uncompetitive here in the UK, and in Europe," he said.

"The loss of jobs at Sharp is a hammer blow to Wrexham," said Ian Lucas, Labour MP for Wrexham.

He added: "May I say how sorry I am for those who are losing their jobs in the run up to Christmas and I will work with the council and all local agencies to support them at this difficult time."

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