BELGIUM: Daikin Europe has said it will not renew the contracts of 500 temporary employees at its plant in Ostend, due to a sharp fall in heat pump sales.
In addition, the company will ask 870 permanent Ostend workers to take 12 days of economic unemployment before the end of December. Consultations are said to be ongoing with the unions.
In a statement, the company told West Flanders TV news channel Focus & WTV that the action had been taken following a “disappointing” demand for residential heat pumps. “Contrary to our forecasts from last year, demand is growing much less than expected,” the company said.
This is a marked turnaround on Daikin Europe’s annual accounts to the end of March which reported record sales of €5.2 billion, driven by a 50% growth in sales of residential heat pumps.
Reports say that Daikin did not expect the heat pump demand to drop so quickly. It blames falling gas prices and a lack of government support for heat pumps, inflation and the squeeze on household finances.
Daikin Europe also announced that the opening of its new €300m residential heat pump factory being built in Poland, and originally schduled to open in July next year, will be postponed until October 2024. However, a Daikin spokesperson insisted that this was unrelated to the situation in Ostend.