Factory closure no fun
AN INTERNATIONAL playground manufacturer, which has its only Australian factory in Bundaberg, is set to close, leaving 17 workers to find new employment.
The Production St factory Megatoy has been operating in the city for the past 16 years but has been owned by Danish company Kompan for the past six years.
Megatoy sales and marketing director Jeff Saunders said the closure boiled down to the economic crisis and the rapid decrease in government and private spend, which was their main customer base.
"The schools and councils are trying to fight their own budget pressures," he said.
"The first thing that gets affected is play equipment."
Mr Saunders said Megatoy, which manufactures play equipment used at McDonald's and other fast-food chains, had been competing with "cheap and nasty" Asian imports.
"It's an increasingly cut-throat market," he said.
"That competition has led us to optimise our supply chain."
Mr Saunders said production was forecast to finish at the end of September.
"The brand's retired but that doesn't mean we are turning our backs on warranties and spare parts," he said.
"The factory will be operating until the end of March before we transfer it all here to Brisbane."
He said 11 full-time employees and six casuals were offered retention bonuses to stay on until September.
"Of those (full-time employees), over half of them we have assisted in finding new employment," he said.
"We've gone above and beyond to look after our guys."
Mr Saunders said the company also consulted the Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce to find out if there were other businesses the workers could be transferred to.
He said the factory closure was a "sad thing" for Bundaberg.
"We take these things very seriously," he said.
"The cost pressures, competition and reduced spend from councils and schools - it just didn't remain viable."