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Lowestoft factory closes down

PUBLISHED: 18:03 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:39 05 July 2010

The Sanyo factory in Lowestoft closed its doors for the final time today after a last-ditch bid to save it failed.

Company bosses announced its closure plans last month after failing to arrest a sharp decline in demand, but there was a glimmer of hope that a new product might save the day.

The Sanyo factory in Lowestoft closed its doors for the final time today after a last-ditch bid to save it failed.

Company bosses announced its closure plans last month after failing to arrest a sharp decline in demand, but there was a glimmer of hope that a new product might save the day.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard lobbied the company's Japanese bosses in the hope they would give their Lowestoft operation more time to develop large monitors designed to be used by the advertising industry.

However, despite agreeing to review its decision, Sanyo has pushed ahead with the closure, leaving the factory's remaining 60 workers having to find new jobs.

Mr Blizzard said: “It's a very sad day, especially for the employees who have lost their jobs. I think these people deserved better from Sanyo after all the years of service that they have given to the company.

“I tried my best to save the factory and I put what I thought was a strong case to Japan to give the Lowestoft factory more time to develop this exciting new product.”

Mr Blizzard revealed that Sanyo's monitors were the “talk of the show” at a recent trade exhibition in Amsterdam, but no orders were immediately forthcoming.

He added: “Sanyo should have had a little more faith in Lowestoft and given them longer to develop this product, which I think would have reaped rewards.

“The way it has ended is sad and unsatisfactory. I think the factory could have been saved and should have been saved.

“I obviously want Jobcentre Plus to do what it can to do what it can to help these people find other jobs. They are excellent people; hard-working and very skilled. That has been the success of the factory down the years.

“I believe they had a good product there and they Sanyo should have been given time to prove itself.”

Sanyo opened its Lowestoft factory, in School Road, in 1982 and at one stage a workforce of about 450 produced 500,000 television sets a year.

However, scores of jobs were shed from 2006 onwards as the market was flooded with cheap LCD televisions from China, Turkey and Eastern Europe.

In response, Sanyo moved away from making domestic sets to produce large screen monitors, primarily used by the advertising industry in locations such as shopping centres, sports' venues and airports.

Demand dropped away during the past 18 months, but the company continued to pioneer even larger monitors.

A spokesman for Sanyo, in Lowestoft, would not comment today, except to confirm that it was the factory's last day.

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