August 10, 2020

Coronavirus: Engineering firm Senior cut more than 900 jobs in first half of year

July 10, 2020

UK-listed engineering firm Senior has said it cut 12% of its workforce during the first half of the year as the coronavirus lockdown took its toll.

The bulk of Senior's revenue comes from its aerospace division, which makes components for Boeing and Airbus, as well as for private jets and military helicopters.

The company has, therefore, been hit hard by the downturn in the aviation industry.

Chief executive David Squires said: "The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on our markets and customers since March and the impact will be with us for some time to come."

Senior has forecast that its first-half revenue will drop by nearly a third compared to the same time last year, and that a sharp fall in the production rate in its civil aerospace business will continue into 2021.

The firm had around 8,200 employees at the end of June last year but, including the latest losses, it has cut about 17% of its workforce since then and another 19% remain on furlough.

Based on the company's figures, the 12% cut in the first six months of the year equates to about 930 employees, although it was not immediately clear how many of those were in the UK as Senior operates in 13 countries.

Senior said a likely "prolonged contraction" due to the pandemic had forced it to broaden its restructuring, although its defence, semi-conductor equipment, and medical markets remained "healthy".

It was grappling with excess capacity even before the coronavirus pandemic brought travel restrictions that halted most airline schedules.

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All versions of the Boeing 737 MAX were grounded worldwide in March last year - days after an Ethiopian Airlines plane came down outside Addis Ababa, and five months after a Lion Air flight suffered a similar fate near Indonesia. The crashes killed 346 people.

In December last year Boeing said it was temporarily halting production of the 737 MAX model. A month later, the firm announced its first annual loss in more than two decades and in May Boeing said it was cutting 12,000 jobs.

It also comes amid thousands of job losses at other businesses in the sector: French manufacturer Airbus announced last month that it would cut 1,700 jobs in the UK and in May Rolls Royce announced 9,000 jobs would go across its global operations.

General Electric also confirmed to Sky News on Friday that it is to cut 369 jobs at its aircraft engine maintenance plant in South Wales. The firm has already shed 180 jobs this year.

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