Valmet to cut 230 jobs at former Karmann roof systems plant in Germany

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BERLIN (Reuters) -- Valmet Automotive will cut about 230 jobs in Germany because of dwindling demand for convertible cars and move production of roof systems to Poland.

The Finnish supplier will keep about 100 white-collar jobs at its German plant in Osnabrueck, which currently employs 330 staff, the company said.

Valmet acquired the roof-making unit from German contract carmaker and cabrio specialist Karmann in 2010 after the company had filed for insolvency.

Assembly of roof systems for carmakers including Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen's Bentley division will in future be based in Zary, western Poland, where Valmet employs 350 workers.

"Utilization of two facilities is currently not feasible because of the decline of the market for convertible roof systems," Martina Lupberger, senior vice president at Valmet's German division said.

The latest job cuts follow the removal of 70 other positions at the German site in recent months through voluntary redundancies and natural wastage.

Valmet is not the only manufacturer seeking to benefit from low Polish production costs. VW will spend nearly 3.4 billion zlotys ($1.12 billion) on a new Polish factory to build delivery vans from 2016, ending assembly in Germany.

Labor costs in Poland's manufacturing sector amounted to an hourly 6.65 euros per worker in 2012, about a sixth of the 36.98 euros in Germany, according to the Cologne-based IW economic institute.

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