Medical glove and condom producer SSL International P.L.C. has sold its headquarters in Cheshire and is negotiating the possible sale of its Marigold glove operation as part of a restructuring program launched in April.
Meanwhile, other cost-cutting measures put in place at that time are on track. The company expects to cut 300 jobs from its European operations by year-end, SSL Chairman Ian Martin said at the firm's July 16 annual general meeting.
SSL completed the sale of its Toft Hall headquarters to a private contractor in early July, a company spokeswoman said. Neither the price nor purchaser were disclosed.
The firm is relocating its base to a facility in central London, the spokeswoman said. Martin said the deal and move should be completed by the end of September.
Ongoing discussions with several potential buyers for the Marigold business are in the works, the spokeswoman said. SSL's Marigold gloves business is comprised of two product ranges, industrial and household.
``There are a number of interested parties,'' she said. ``It's a self-sustaining business, a business that's not dragging the company down.''
The Marigold operation is expendable because SSL wants to concentrate on its four core businesses: Durex condoms, Regent Medical latex and synthetic latex medical gloves, Scholl foot care products and Hibi antiseptics. Marigold, while a sizable division, doesn't fit into the firm's prime health care and medical markets, the spokeswoman said.
The Marigold business contributed about 8 percent of SSL's fiscal 2001 revenues of $865 million, down from $948 million the previous 12 months.
Consumer health care goods accounted for 55 percent of sales and medical products contributed 33 percent.
SSL's other cost-cutting measures, including the work force reductions, will be split evenly between the United Kingdom and the remainder of Europe, the spokeswoman indicated. The job cuts primarily will be in administration.
The streamlining ultimately could impact the company's manufacturing operation, although none are presently planned. The firm is reviewing that end of its business, along with its customer service and logistics units, Martin said.
The executive didn't say what changes are expected in those areas.
``Improvements in customer service have already been achieved, including a significant improvement in the U.K.,'' he said. ``A year ago just over 50 percent of orders were delivered on time and in full. We are now achieving over 90 percent.''
SSL officials are optimistic about growth in the fiscal year. ``The current year has started well'' and the firm is on target with sales and profits, Martin said. The company still expects profits to grow by as much as 14 percent this year and 16 percent annually in the future.