Iona chairman Kevin Melia’s international contract electronics manufacturing firm, Manufacturers Services Limited (MSL), is to close its manufacturing plant in Athlone with the loss of 200 jobs.
Wicklow native and former Sun and Digital vice president Melia established MSL in the mid 1990s and floated the company on the New York Stock Exchange. He established the Athlone plant as part of a global network of manufacturing locations in 1994.
However, in the past two years, as a result of the dot.com bust and the downturn in the telecommunications business, contract manufacturers worldwide have been feeling the pinch, with Irish-based operations of electronic manufacturers such as Dovatron and Solectron making staff redundant and shutting down respectively.
It appears that MSL is feeling the effects of the industry-wide recession, and has laid off 4,500 people around the world.
The Athlone plant manufactured printed circuit boards (PCBs) for the communications and PC manufacturing business and at its height employed 350 people along with a Galway operation.
By John Kennedy