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Jobs to go as battery maker heads offshore

Flat battery: Marshall Power is moving its Australian manufacturing base to the Philippines, citing tough business conditions – not Ford and Holden’s planned exit – that make it too costly to stay here.

Marshall Power says it is no longer viable to make batteries in Australia

General News logo3 Feb 2014

By BARRY PARK

UP TO 70 workers at an 80-year-old South Australian battery maker supplying all three local car-makers are likely to lose their jobs by the end of this year.

However, while Marshall Power said it would send its battery-making business to the Philippines – where its parent company is based – the decision to quit Australia was not tied in with Ford and Holden’s recently announced exit plans.

“This was a very difficult decision and not one made lightly,” Marshall Power Australasian sales and marketing director Andrew Duncan said.

“We are very proud of our manufacturing history and to lose some of our dedicated team members is always a last resort,” he said.

“We must ensure long-term viability and sustainability for the larger employee group." About a third of the Australian car battery market is sourced from local manufacturers. Marshall Power’s brands include Exide and Marshall.

According to a statement from Marshall, the Edinburgh North factory will close late this year, and will be replaced with a distribution centre.

A spokesman for the company said it was still too early to say how many employees would run the distribution centre.

Marshall Power laid blame for the decision on the tough business environment in Australia.

“All viable options have been explored and due to competing imports and to deliver increased value to all Australian and New Zealand motorists, we have no choice but to fully utilise our associated companies to manufacture offshore,” Mr Duncan said.

“Whilst we are deeply saddened about losing some of our team, this announcement delivers long term viability and allows us to continue to provide best in class product and a new range that will secure continued supply and value to our customers.

“Our business will continue to supply Australian car manufacturers and our Australasian aftermarket customers.

“Today’s announcement is not attributable to any one specific factor and is not related to any decisions made by Australian car manufacturers. This is a commercial decision taken by our business," he said.

Marshall Power was founded in 1935, producing batteries for cars, boats, caravans, motorcycles, trucks and domestic use.

Early last year, Marshall bought the Australian arm of battery-making rival Exide for an undisclosed sum.

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