After receiving a lot of correspondence from local workers, I have been liaising with colleagues to ensure that the Government understands the worries of GKN employees and is fully briefed on the possible ramifications of a hostile takeover by Melrose. It is important that we maintain our sovereign defence capability and, as Britain’s third largest independent defence company, I believe GKN can play a key role in this.
On Friday, I had a briefing from GKN management about their outlook and business plan to move the company forward. Contrary to a lot of reports, GKN are recording near record profits but have experienced a dip in profit margins due to their bold investment plan that has seen the company triple in size over the last decade. A sign of their operational strength is the fact that Melrose have proposed to loan money for the takeover based on GKN’s balance sheet and future order list. All this information has been presented to shareholders, who I hope will consider the investment management has made in the company to ensure the long term viability of the brand.
At my regular surgery, I had a meeting with Unite representatives and employees from the Filton site to hear their concerns ahead of meeting Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I have also submitted a written question to the Department of Work and Pension based on their concerns to ensure GKN employees are supported if the takeover proceeds.