Kenmark MD Hwang makes news in UK
By YAP LENG KUEN
Saturday July 10, 2010
PETALING JAYA: The name of Kenmark Industrial Co (M) Bhd’s “missing’’ managing director James Hwang has surfaced in a UK newspaper, Evening Telegraph, where he was quoted to have said that his company would continue production of televisions.
In an article dated July 6, Hwang had said: “I have never closed down the operations in the UK and I have no intention to close down the operations in the UK.
“The company is not subject to a winding-up order and no creditor has filed such an order. The company will continue production of televisions at Corby (in Northamptonshire, East Midlands, England).’’
The company, based in Longeroft Way at the Eurohub in Corby, was reported to have laid off its temporary workers and closed its TV factory to all but the office staff.
StarBiz called the paper to check on the whereabouts of Hwang but was informed that the information was obtained via the phone, possibly through the factory in Corby.
The reporter who wrote the article could not be reached as she was said to be on a week’s holiday.
Upon advice to call the factory in Corby, this writer contacted the person who was said to be in charge. Declining to be named, he denied that he had put the reporter through to Hwang. But he did not know where Hwang was except that Hwang called him every day to check on things. However, he could not say exactly what time Hwang called every day.
In the Evening Telegraph article, Hwang also said two winding-up orders mentioned in previous reports by the paper referred to a dormant company, Kenmark International (UK) Ltd, and not Kenmark International Ltd.
According to the Taipei Times on Oct 8 last year, the British Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei had said in a statement that their local flat-panel TV maker, Kenmark Industrial Co, had leased a 13,935-sq-m facility to manufacture LCD TVs.
The report from Taipei said Kenmark planned to spend US$30mil on building the new plant and expected to create 500 jobs in Corby over the next three years.
In an earlier article on June 22, the Evening Telegraph said regional business and council leaders were trying to establish what was happening at the factory while no-one at Kenmark’s offices in Corby would talk about the situation.
It said delivery lorries were being turned away by security guards from London and there were only a handful of cars at the plant’s car park.
The report quoted Corby Council chief executive Chris Mallender as saying: “The information I have is that they are still trading, but that the situation with Kenmark in the Far East may have an impact here.
“Things are clearly not right there, but it’s not evident they have closed down. They have laid off their contract staff and appear to be no longer getting deliveries.
“We’re in regular contact with the East Midlands Development Agency’s (EMDA) advisers and we will do all we can to try to keep the company open to protect local jobs.”
The report also quoted a statement from EMDA as saying: “We are aware that Kenmark is restructuring globally. We are in dialogue with Kenmark and UK Trade and Investment (office) in Taipei about what this may mean for the Corby site. Until we are able to clarify this, we are unable to comment further.”
According to a spokesman at the Corby factory, Kenmark produces an average of 30,000 TVs per month for sale in Europe. It had 40 workers but since its financial troubles started, the figure has dropped to 15.
“It is a financial issue and once we solve the problem, we will continue to run,’’ he said, adding that the plant was experiencing shortage of raw materials that mostly came from China and Taiwan.