Penn Racquet Sports
Midland; Border, Midland and Western
Manufacture of textiles, apparel, leather and related products
13 - Manufacture of textiles
Planned Job Reductions min:
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Tennis-ball manufacturer Penn Racquet Sports plans to close its Irish factory in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, with 116 job losses. At its height, the plant produced 80,000 tennis balls a day.
Production will transfer to a sister facility in Phoenix, Arizona, US, by March 2004, which is likely to have been motivated by a desire to protect American jobs. With the US government pressurising manufacturers to safeguard domestic jobs, Penn Ireland may be a victim of its parent's determination to protect operations in Phoenix.
In a statement Penn, which opened in Mullingar in 1974, blamed the closure on a slump in tennis ball sales and competition from cheaper Far East rivals.
The plants prospects have been grim following the closure in March of its main supplier, Kilkenny-based Textech. Since then, raw materials have been sourced at much greater expense from Maine in the US.
04-12-2003The Irish Times