Waveney MP seeks urgent Sanyo talks

PUBLISHED: 00:01 14 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:11 05 July 2010

An MP pledged last night to seek urgent talks with the Japanese bosses of electrical company Sanyo in a last-ditch bid to prevent the closure of its factory in Lowestoft.

Waveney's MP promised last night to seek urgent talks with the Japanese bosses of electrical company Sanyo in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the closure of its factory in Lowestoft.

Bob Blizzard held a meeting with the company's Lowestoft managers yesterday and said he was convinced they still had a viable business as a result of the development of a new product.

His intervention came less than 24 hours after Sanyo announced plans to close its School Road factory by the end of next month.

Sanyo had been forced to move away from the production of domestic televisions at the end of 2006 because the highly-competitive market was being flooded by cheap imports from China, eastern Europe and Turkey.

It has since made large monitors for sports venues, shopping centres and airports, but demand has fallen away in the economic downturn.

However, Mr Blizzard said the company was pioneering the production of even larger monitors.

And, while precise details of this development were not available last night, it is hoped they could prove the saviour for the factory and its remaining 60 employees.

Mr Blizzard said: "It was clear to me by the end of the meeting that there is a business case for keeping the Lowestoft factory open. I don't think that we should just give up, and I am determined to fight for these jobs."

The MP is now seeking a meeting with Sanyo executives from Japan to push the business case for its Lowestoft operation and production of the large-scale monitors.

He said: "Only the Lowestoft workforce has the expertise to make them. I'm saying that they should give the factory more time to develop and market this product.

"There is no reason why Sanyo can't give the factory more time. It would be stupid to abandon a pioneering product, and the company has got to take a long-term view and look to the future."

Sanyo opened its Lowestoft factory in 1982, and at the height of production at least 350 workers made some 500,000 TVs a year. The first wave of job losses was announced in 2006 and the workforce had dwindled to just 60 by the start of this year.

No one from Sanyo's Lowestoft plant was available for comment last night.

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