Brexit uncertainty and slowing sales have forced SDC Trailers to look at cutting “a number of jobs" at its plants in Mansfield and Toomebridge in Northern Ireland, the manufacturer revealed this week.

The planned cuts also follow the loss of SDC Trailers' major chassis building contract for Peterborough-based trailer manufacturer Lawrence David. The chassis deal saw Toomebridge, County Antrim-based SDC Trailers making around 4,000 chassis a year for Lawrence David.

However the sale of 75% of Lawrence David to Polish trailer manufacturing giant Wielton in September last year has seen the company restructure its supply chain, resulting in the firm sourcing its chassis from Wielton’s Polish manufacturing business from January next year, has learnt.

Lawrence David said at the time of the sale to Wielton that the deal would not affect its contract with SDC Trailers “in the short term.”

Both SDC Trailers and Lawrence David declined to discuss the termination of the chassis building contract this week.

SDC Trailers also declined to estimate how many of its 800-plus employees face redundancy.

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In a statement SDC Trailers said: “SDC Trailers is the largest manufacturer of semi-trailers in the UK and Ireland employing over 800 employees group wide at our manufacturing plants in England and Northern Ireland.

“In recent months, it is clear that the uncertainty of Brexit and other economic concerns has resulted in a slowing down of capital purchases from retailers, logistics firms and others.

“We have had to respond to this slowdown in demand by entering into a period of consultation with our employees with the unfortunate likely outcome being a number of employees being made redundant.

“We are unable to confirm numbers at this stage as the consultation process is still ongoing with our workforce.”

SDC Trailers was bought by Chinese trailer manufacturer CIMC Vehicles in June 2016 in a deal that was hailed as a route to growth both in the UK and globally.

In its latest accounts for the year to December 31 2018, SDC Trailers reported turnover of £175m - up from £122m for the previous nine month accounting period. Pre-tax profits remained level at £6m, just £19,000 up from the previous nine month period.

Last year SDC Trailers invested £7m in extending the Toomebridge site, creating an additional 50 jobs, and opened its first purpose built sales centre in England.