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BBC Wales's Sian Lloyd
"Takiron was the first company from Japan to come to Wales"
 real 56k

Monday, 8 January, 2001, 19:32 GMT
'First' Japanese firm under threat
Takiron factory
A buyer is being sought for the Takiron plant
The first Japanese company to come to Wales through inward investment could close with the loss of 57 jobs, unless a buyer can be found.

Takiron UK, at Bedwas near Caerphilly, opened almost 30 years ago.

Motoharu Suzuki
Motoharu Suzuki had raised fears about the strong pound
Managers are partly blaming the move on the strong pound.

When the Takiron plant opened in 1972 it was headline news. It was the first company from Japan to come to Wales - only the second to start manufacturing in Britain.

Since then it has made prefabricated sheeting mostly for export to Europe.

But since the mid 1990s it has lost around 6m.

In a statement released on Monday, the company blamed the strong pound and the continued high price of raw material for its difficulties.

Warning signs

Managers have now started consulting with unions over redundancies.

The news was said to have come as a shock but the warning signs could be seen last summer when the company's managing director, Motoharu Suzuki, spoke of his concerns about the British economy.

The company hopes a buyer will be found - although it admits that option is looking unlikely.

If one cannot be found the factory will shut - closing an important chapter in the history of Wales's industrial links with Japan.

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