Intersurgical in shock closure

INTERSURGICAL has shut down its Guernsey factory with immediate effect.

Intersurgical has closed its Guernsey factory, citing ‘factors outside of its control’. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31335263)
Intersurgical has closed its Guernsey factory, citing ‘factors outside of its control’. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31335263)

The medical equipment supplier, which has sites across the world, blamed ‘factors outside of its control’ for the manufacturing plant’s sudden closure but said it was running at a loss.

Staff were called into a full company meeting yesterday morning at 9am to be given the news, and a media statement released at 10.30am, said: ‘Unfortunately this site has become uncompetitive in the global economic environment and has suffered continued financial losses, which Intersurgical is no longer able to subsidise.’

In the afternoon about a dozen staff were present inside and outside the building. The Guernsey Press entered the premises but was then asked to leave.

Group managing director Charles Bellm chaired the meeting for all staff yesterday morning alongside two senior colleagues. Those unable to be present were asked to notify their absence by text.

He said in the statement: ‘It is with great sadness and regret that we have decided to close our Guernsey site. We have done all we can to try and turn the loss-making site around, but we simply cannot continue to sustain the current financial losses brought on by a number of factors outside of our control.

‘We recognise that this will come as a heavy blow to our Guernsey workforce, some of whom have been with us for many years. We would like to thank them for the contribution they have made to the business over the years.’

About 90 staff are thought to be affected, although exact numbers are not known. As recently as 2020 the company employed 117 people on the island.

The company has operated in the island for almost 40 years, initially in Braye Road as Lifeline Ltd, and then in Pitronnerie Industrial Estate. At its peak it employed 235 people.

There were still staff at the company’s offices yesterday afternoon, but no one was prepared to comment further on exactly how many people are effected by today’s announcements, or what the factors were that led to the company.

There was also no further comment from the company’s headquarters in Berkshire.

The site made connectors for ventilators, the tubes and filters that link patients to machines. It featured prominently in the fight against Covid, taking on extra staff and creating a third shift so that the plant could run 24 hours a day at the height of the pandemic.

The company was described as a ‘force for good’ in the battle against Covid by then Chief Minister Gavin St Pier.

Yesterday he tweeted a response to the news of the closure.

‘This is very sad news – first and foremost for those losing their jobs and their families, but also for the loss of world-leading brand in specialist technology that provided useful diversity to our business base.’

Nobody has been able to confirm if staff would receive redundancy pay. Under local law they would not be entitled to it.

The UK parent company was founded in 1982 and employs more than 3,000 people worldwide, with a head office and manufacturing plant in Wokingham, and further sites in Lithuania, Italy and China.

There was no comment yesterday regarding whether other sites would also be affected by the closure, or the company’s ongoing viability.

Economic Development response, page 2

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