NEWS that US-based high-tech manufacturer Plexus has been bucking the economic doom and gloom and managed to create more than 50 new jobs at its plant in Kelso in the last few months, has been welcomed in the town.
The company, which has its global headquarters in the American state of Wisconsin, confirmed to TheSouthern this week that a total of 57 new staff had been hired for its factory at the Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate in Kelso in the three months up until October.
The company told us: “Recruitment has been across numerous disciplines of the company’s business in Kelso, including manufacturing, warehousing, engineering, quality and purchasing.
“Driven by increasing demand from our UK customers, we are delighted to be expanding our team in Kelso,” stated Frank Zycinski, general manager of Plexus Manufacturing Solutions Kelso.
“Our people are our key differentiators. This facility continues to be an important part of Plexus’ strategy in Scotland and the growth demonstrates our continued commitment to developing engineering and manufacturing opportunities in the region.”
Plexus Manufacturing Solutions Kelso currently has 350 employees and has been offering what it terms ‘product realisation solutions’ since 2000.
Plexus manufactures complex, high-tech products and operates in a variety of markets, including those in the wireless infrastructure, medical, industrial, commercial, defence, security and aerospace sectors.
The company currently has 13 plants on three continents, with a total workforce of almost 8,000. Company headquarters are in Neenah, Wisconsin, with manufacturing plants in half-a-dozen US states, as well as in China, Malaysia and here in Scotland.
There is also a design facility at the Alba Campus in Livingston.
Local Scottish Borders councillor Simon Mountford (Con) said the recruitment figures from Plexus were excellent news and showed a vote of confidence in the quality of the Kelso workforce.
“Plexus has a well-earned reputation in its field and it is encouraging that a company of this calibre continues to invest in the Borders,” added Mr Mountford.
His fellow local Conservative, Councillor Tom Weatherston, commented: “This is very good news for the town, as a lot of businesses are facing difficult times just now and are having to let people go, so to hear of a locally-based company employing more staff at this time is very encouraging.”
And a spokesman for the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce added: “To see a global company like Plexus having the confidence to expand like this, is in itself, a pointer to perhaps green shoots appearing on the economic horizon. It is especially good for us in the Borders with so many new jobs being created. This news, plus the decision a fortnight ago by Chanel to take over the Barrie’s business in Hawick, indicates that major manufacturing business has confidence in the Borders. Long may this trend continue.”
Parent company Plexus Corp has this month reported its fourth quarter adjusted earnings, which surged 26.9 per cent year on year, primarily due to higher sales and modest margin expansions.
Total revenue increased 10.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis to $594.8million, primarily driven by strong performance from all its business segments.
Gross profit increased 11.8 per cent from the year-ago quarter to $56.2million.