Saltcoats mayor speaks out on EMW closure

The Mayor of Saltcoats says news that EMW Industrial Ltd having been placed into receivership was not good for the community.

More than 200 employees of the Saltcoats location were told in mid-April that the firm, which was founded in 1971 and specialized in industrial services such as fabrication and welding, was no longer in business.

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The financial consultancy firm Deloitte had become the receiver, assuming control of EMW with the purpose of repaying the debts held by the Saltcoats company.

“They are the major business in town,” said McCallum, adding while EMW had expanded operations significantly over the years “it was a Saltcoats-based company to start with.”

McCallum said in conversation with EMW founder Ewen Morrison, “it was not how he wanted it to end, with people out of work.”

The company had been working with it financers to find a way “to transition the company to someone else to run,” said McCallum.

With that in mind EMW had done some layoffs, decreasing staff by about 100 to create a stronger business model, said McCallum.

“They were trying to build a healthy business unit to make it more attractive for a buyer,” he said.

McCallum added it was his understanding the company still had “dozens of profitable projects,” with a number of additional contracts to be started.

The closure of EMW has left the firms in the contracts looking for services.

On a personal level McCallum said he was disappointed the receiver chose to close the doors at EMW rather than operate it for a time, which they could have done, while seeking out a buyer for the entire company.

“That was an option to continue running the business … I know banking is a harsh industry, but shutting the business down I don’t agree with,” he said.

As it is, a few staff have been hired back to go to EMW jobsites to collect assets for a planned auction sale of those assets, said McCallum.

McCallum said the full effect of the closure will not be known, and will be determined by things such as whether someone will take up residency in the office building, and if employees can find jobs which allow them to stay in the community.

“It’s hard to say what the long term outcome will be,” he said. “… I don’t have a crystal ball to specifically what’s going to happen.”

McCallum said he has had some preliminary indication that there may be a lead on a tenant for the office building, and that some of the EMW staff have found jobs locally, which are both positives for Saltcoats.

Obviously it is important for employees who were living in Saltcoats to be able to stay, said McCallum. He noted that a number of employees were on EMW road crews, so are used to living locally and travelling for work, so they may find jobs away and still live in the community.

That said, McCallum also said he was aware it has to be devastating for many employees, especially in a number of situations where both husband and wife worked for EMW.

While a major business taxpayer, and local employer, McCallum said EMW will also be keenly missed as a good corporate citizen. He said the company regularly donated the use of equipment, provided people and made financial donations to various community projects.

“The Town Hall is as good as it is today because EMW was in at the beginning (of an upgrade),” said the community’s Mayor, adding the hall is “now a showpiece of the community.”

Similarly, EMW regularly donated in various ways to the regional park helping to maintain and upgrade ball diamonds and other work at the site, added McCallum.

“EMW was always a good corporate citizen,” he reiterated.

As for municipal taxes, McCallum said EMW was current in its taxes, adding again the community support of EMW was seen in as much as the company had done drainage grading around the community and received a tax rebate as payment.

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