Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble has ended its last manufacturing presence in Ireland with the sale of its oral hygiene plant in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
As part of the deal that took over the Newbridge plant from Indian healthcare manufacturer Mapaex, Procter & Gamble paid 45 million euros into the company’s pension plan last month.
This was the latest element in a lengthy $10.5 million sale of the company, first announced in November 2020.
The factory produces the Oral B range of toothbrush, dental floss and make-up powder refills, as well as cartridge refills for Braun electric razors.
The sale of the facility marks the end of Procter & Gamble’s manufacturing operations in Ireland, which formerly comprised three facilities. The company closed its Braun razor refill plant in Carlow in 2011 with the loss of 167 jobs and relocated Braun operations to Newbridge. In 2016, the Nenagh plant, which made mascaras and powders for the Max Factor line, was sold to rival beauty company Coty as part of a $12.9 billion sale of Procter & Gamble’s specialty cosmetics business.
Coty announced the closure of the Nenagh store just months later, with the loss of nearly 250 jobs.
change of staff
Procter & Gamble says all of the approximately 350 employees remaining at the Kildare plant will transfer to their new owners. The number of employees has decreased in recent years.
The US company has pledged to phase out Oral B and Braun products for the next decade. It is planned that the new Indian owners will bring new product lines to the site, which has struggled with overcapacity in recent years.
Profits at Procter & Gamble’s main Irish arm fell by a quarter to 6.1 million euros last year, partly due to a fall in demand for manual toothbrushes, which has been a feature of the business in recent years.
The recently filed annual accounts of Procter & Gamble (Manufacturing) Ireland for the year ended June 2021 indicate that the sale of the Newbridge facility to Mapaex was completed on 1st May this year.
Mapaex is part of the Indian contract manufacturing group Makson Group, whose high-profile customers include Nestlé, Hersheys, Cadburys, Mondelez, Kraft, Reckitt Benckiser, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, as well as GlaxoSmithKline and Ranbaxy.
Procter & Gamble said costs at the Newbridge business remained a challenge last year as an increase in commodity prices was only partially offset by internal cost savings and productivity initiatives. The company paid no dividends to its parent company.
The US parent company has not received a dividend from its Irish manufacturing business since 2018, when it paid €21.25 million.
The company’s turnover increased last year from 67.2 million euros in the period 2019/20 to 109 million euros. However, restructuring costs amounted to more than 40 million euros compared to less than 3 million euros in the previous year. The majority of this related to the depreciation of fixed assets in the amount of €36 million due to the transfer of the plant to Mapaex. A further €4.26 million was set aside as a provision for the costs of transferring staff to the new business.
Severance costs for the year were only €124,000 compared to nearly €2.8 million the year before.