Bekaert restructures in Belgium on Covid crisis

Belgian wire specialist Bekaert is to reorganize its global engineering activities, several functional department areas serving the Group’s global or local business needs, and a number of support and technical roles in the production plants in Zwevegem. The restructuring plan will affect 160 jobs in Belgium and the intended implementation is scheduled from 2021 onwards.

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on economies and demand will have significant lasting effects. Bekaert has determined a number of actions to enable the Group to adapt to the new environment,” the company says in a note seen by Kallanish.  The Group will invest further in shared services to consolidate expertise and activities in business areas that serve the global footprint. This may include decisions to relocate or outsource such activities.

The engineering organization in Belgium is to become a global knowledge center for the development of innovative equipment solutions. The design, service and project management teams will focus on the implementation of new and digital technologies and Equipment Lifecycle Management (ELM). The plan includes the discontinuation of workshop activities in Belgium and the move of expertise activities and a prototype lab from Ingelmunster to Deerlijk. The intention to restructure the Belgian engineering activities would affect 95 jobs, the company warns.

Bekaert is also developing stronger centers of excellence across its Group Services division, accelerating the adoption of digital capabilities in the areas of operational, commercial and administrative process excellence to create new value for the business and its customers. This would lead to a reduction of 46 white collar workers and managers in Belgium. The production plants in Zwevegem will realign and regroup a number of support and technical functions. The new set-up would affect 19 white collars and managers in the respective plants, Kallanish notes.