SKF to cut 150 jobs in France

The Swedish group SKF, the world's leading maker of ball bearings, on Thursday said it would cut 150 jobs in France in response to weakening demand due to client relocations to low-cost countries.

The job reduction will focus on SKF’s plant at Fontenay le Comte, in southwestern France.

“The move of customers from West Europe to East Europe and Asia and their decisions to have local suppliers has led to lower demand for the products that are manufactured at this plant,” SKF said.

The job cuts are to be implemented in 2006, according to French legal procedure, it said.

SKF, which in October reported a 33.6% surge in third-quarter net earnings to 974 million kronor (123 million dollars), said it was also reducing the number of divisions in the group to three.

From January, SKF will only have an industrial division, an automotive division and a services division.