ABB closes down transformer factory in New Zealand

New Zealand, New Plymouth: ABB’s New Plymouth factory manufacturing power transformers is closing down, with 59 staff losing their jobs.

The factory producing small distribution transformers for the New Zealand market, as well as internationally for Australia and the Pacific Islands, will finish operations on 28 April as the production shifts to Vietnam, reports

In a statement cited by the source, ABB said the decision was based on “challenging market conditions resulting from external factors”.

Only a few years ago in 2012, the company had 100 employees on its payroll after it hired 25 new staff as part of a $1.5 million extension. At the time, ABB factory sales manager Tania Lindsay said the company could employ another 20 or so people in 2013 if it went ahead with plans to add a third shift to its production.

It was also suggested the factory could become a 24-hour operation to keep up with demand as, at the time, ABB had secured a new portion of the Australian market which had led to the large expansion.

Previously, this factory was producing about 2,000 transformers each year but increased this to 4,000 a year in 2012, and the plan was to move the figure up to 10,000 per year, which would require a 24-hour operation.

At this point with the factory closing, it is unclear what had changed in the market since then and caused the closure, and whether ABB still had the portion of the Australian market that it did five years ago.