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SIG cuts 900 jobs as downturn bites RMI

Insulation specialist SIG is cutting 900 jobs and closing 65 outlets in response to a sharp fall in new build and repairs, maintenance and improvement (RMI).

In an interim management statement the company said the restructure would cost £19million and would “realign resources to current and expected trading levels”.

The cutbacks will mainly be in the UK and Ireland, but they will also have an impact on other European operations.

SIG supplies a range of specialist construction products and despite a strong performance in the first half of the financial year it now descrives

The company said: “The period from July to mid-November 2008 has seen further decline in these countries in both new housing construction and RMI. Whilst much less marked than in the UK and Ireland, the residential sector has also now seen some downturn in a number of SIG’s mainland European countries of operation.

“Performance in the Group’s other core markets of non-residential construction and nonconstruction industrial insulation has continued to show greater resilience.

“In the UK, as anticipated, those parts of SIG’s operations most heavily exposed to
residential construction and RMI have found trading increasingly challenging.

“The UK non-residential sector has remained broadly stable, both for new construction and

'Whilst more recently there are signs of some private sector projects being
deferred, overall sales levels are being sustained by a good level of workflow from the
publicly funded and PFI sectors, notably for health and education infrastructure. Demand
for process industrial insulation and related products remains robust.”

Looking to the future the company said: “It will be some time before the implications of the tighter liquidity and credit conditions now set to prevail well into 2009 become clear, but it is logical that these will not be without consequence for SIG’s markets and customers.”