Eaton is quitting the lighting market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and closing the 50,000 square metre former Cooper Lighting and Safety plant in Doncaster, UK, which it acquired in 2012.
Luminaires for commercial, retail, education and industrial applications are designed and manufactured at the site, which employs 390 people. Around 300 positions are impacted, with the remaining employees transferring to the emergency lighting operation which will continue at a separate facility.
One member of staff, who had just returned to Doncaster after three months of furlough, described the announcement as ‘the worst possible news’.
In a statement, the US company, whose global headquarters are in Ireland, said: ‘Following a strategic review of the business, regrettably Eaton announced to its employees that it is proposing to exit the EMEA Mains Lighting business market and focus activities in Doncaster on Emergency Lighting and Fire product lines as well as a centre of excellence for key UK support functions.
“It is anticipated that approximately 300 positions based in or out of the company’s current facility in Doncaster would be impacted. This is in no way a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the team over the past years. It is intended that up to 90 positions may be able to transfer to the new facility. This action would be taken in full accordance with local laws and consistent with Eaton’s practices. We regret the impact that this proposed restructuring would have on our employees and their families and would take steps to ensure any actions are carried out with care and concern for all of individuals involved. Our goal would be to help impacted workers transition to new facilities, new positions or to new careers.”
In 2012, US electrical giant Eaton acquired the Cooper Industries business units and renamed the lighting division Eaton.
In 2019, Signify bought Cooper Lighting from Eaton for £1.1 billion, acquiring its mostly North American assets and brands, but the Doncaster operation was not included in the deal and remained with Eaton.
Prices and margins in the commercial lighting sector have come under intense pressure in recent years due to a combination of factors including historic oversupply, competition from China and a narrowing of product differentiation between LED-based luminaires.