Nova Scotia business minister surprised by cuts at LED Roadway Lighting
Mark Furey says he was under the impression the company is for sale, which the CEO denies
The CEO of a company that just announced the layoff of 45 employees in Amherst, N.S., is denying the business is for sale, despite comments to the contrary by a provincial cabinet minister.
Business Minister Mark Furey said he was caught off guard by the elimination of 45 assembly jobs at LED Roadway Lighting and added that talks are underway to sell the company.
"I was certainly aware there was some discussion around the sale or change of ownership of LED Lighting," he said.
Peter Conlon, CEO of LED Roadway Lighting, said that's not the case, though he is always pursuing new sources of capital investment.
Company being restructured
Conlon said the layoffs announced Tuesday mark the culmination of a three-year restructuring process that will allow the company to maintain competitiveness in an international marketplace for power-saving street lights.
The company still employs between 90 and 100 people in Amherst.
Nova Scotia Business Inc., the province's business development corporation, has invested $11 million in the company since 2009.
"These are unfortunate circumstances," said Furey.
"We do have to respect the business entity. But at the same time we have a financial interest and obligation to taxpayers."
New jobs coming
In order to compete in Asia, the Caribbean and the UK, Conlon said the company needs a global supply chain for lighting parts, often combined with local assembly to avoid import tariffs.
Conlon said the Amherst facility will continue to build lights for sale in Canada and the U.S., as well as product development, and short runs of specialized lighting.
New jobs will be created in Amherst as it evolves into the company's "global operations centre," he said.
"We are going to effect this transition from being a single-site manufacturing entity to one that co-ordinates the efforts of a number of really important partners to us around the world," said Conlon.