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AgustaWestland to cut 372 jobs in the U.K.

Oct. 13, 2011 – Helicopter-maker AgustaWestland has said it will cut 375 jobs in the UK due to falling revenues from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and slowing export orders.


October 13, 2011
By AgustaWestland

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Oct. 13, 2011 – Helicopter-maker AgustaWestland has said it will cut 375 jobs in the UK due to falling revenues from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and slowing export orders.

The company, owned by Italian defence group Finmeccanica, said the jobs would go at its Yeovil headquarters and at its base in Farnborough.

"Revenues from the Ministry of Defence are declining and shifting towards longer term support solutions, while export orders that have slipped in the near term are projected to grow over time," the company said.

"The specific demands of the commercial helicopter sector and the ever more competitive export markets require the company to operate on an even more cost-effective basis going forward."

The company, which recently launched its new AW169 civil helicopter, said the majority of jobs would be cut from its management and corporate departments.

Commenting on the planned cuts, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "The worrying thing for Westland is that the government isn't willing to support enough British industry. We can't always buy British, but we should be supporting British companies who are world-leaders.

"They have been bidding for work in recent months and been unsuccessful and I think it is partly because the government would rather get on to a plane to the US and sign a contract in Washington than support home-grown business here in the UK."

And the MP's comments chime with a recent call by AgustaWestland chairman Graham Cole at an Insider debate.

At the debate Cole said: "The government is particularly important because this is a sector which delivers a lot for the state. It would be good for everyone involved if the government's procurement strategy in defence was more transparent."

Cole added that the defence industry was a sector in which national interests still largely dictated which companies won contracts. "US companies win US defence contracts, French companies win French ones. But the UK is almost an open market, so we must demonstrate real value for money in addition to the national and strategic industrial benefits."


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