The German-based owners of the Fife electronics firm due to close with the loss of 83 jobs has blamed the decision on falling car sales and the impact of the pandemic.
The Courier revealed last week that Micronas Ltd, which has produced electronic sensors for the automotive industry at its factory in Southfield Industrial Estate in Glenrothes will close in April.
Staff at the firm were given the devastating news and told the closure was part of a major restructuring process instigated by the parent company TDK Micronas.
Initial indications from Glenrothes company has suggested the closure was part of a company restructure and not influenced by either the coronavirus pandemic or Brexit.
However, CEO Günter Weinberger, head of the German firm based in Freiburg, has now confirmed that the company had suffered from the current weak automotive market over the last two years and “even more due to the pandemic, in 2020”.
He added: “The most recent market analysis shows a decline of 24% of new car registrations in Europe in 2020 compared to 2019.
“During these challenging years, we have supported the Glenrothes site as much as we could by fully loading their capacity, at the expense of the parent site in Freiburg, Germany.
“However, we must recognise that while the industry is slightly recovering, it will not be the same again.
“New equipment and new products generate the much needed productivity improvements, and, as a consequence, we anticipate the overall production situation to develop towards a lower number of testers requiring less floor space and less operators.
“The Glenrothes site has always delivered good performance, but in a scenario where an entire site becomes obsolete, the only option is to keep the German test site running, as it is also the engineering location as well as the pilot production.”
Mr Weinberger admitted that the closure marked the “end of an era in Glenrothes”.
He added: “Despite the clear economic situation, we sincerely regret having to part with all the capable employees on site in Scotland.
“It was not easy for us to make this decision, but we have to act in terms of a holistic solution for TDK-Micronas.
“We are grateful for the commitment and loyalty of our Scottish employees since we began operations in Glenrothes and we sincerely wish them all the best for their future.”
Employees at the Glenrothes site are now undergoing a consultation process with the company, which opened in 1994, expected to close its doors by April.
Glenrothes and Mid Fife MP, Peter Grant, described the job losses as a “huge blow”.
He also urged the company to engage fully with Fife Council’s Economic Development service to ensure that the workforce get as much support as possible to find alternative employment although this will be extremely difficult in the current climate.