Belden CDT Inc is an American corporation, based in St Louis. It manufactures high-speed electronic cables in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Sales are around $900 million a year.
In February 2003, a subsidiary, Belden Wire and Cable, recognised that it had excess capacity in Europe. It decided to close the plant in Germany and to transfer some, but not all, of its production to the company’s main European factory in Venlo in the Netherlands. 180 jobs were under threat. During the planning of the closure, the company allowed its managers to propose a Management Buy Out (MBO). This led to their successful purchase of some of the remnant business. This complicated the consultations with the Works Council and might have caused delay and additional cost. We led the whole restructuring process, facilitating the timely transfer of production and the closure of the factory - on time and within budget - in November 2003.
Michael Schmidt, our German human resources specialist, provided expert advice on German employment law and custom and practice. He drew up the social plan and supporting documents; worked out the cost of redundancies; dealt with sensitive communications; and led the negotiations with the works council and trades unions. The company’s American managers, in the US and in Europe, needed considerable help in understanding the terminology and approach necessary to effect the redundancies without incurring legal sanction and high additional costs. We acted as an important bridge between the local and American managers. Although the original financial provision made in the US turned out to be wrong, the whole exercise was concluded satisfactorily, within the revised budget and on time. In September 2004, Belden asked us to help close another factory near Liverpool.