Playmobil to cut 700 jobs worldwide, Malta plant unlikely to be impacted

Horst Brandstaetter Group says it will cut 700 jobs by 2025 amid falls in sales and profit • Malta plant has been reducing headcount through natural attrition

Playmobil figures were created in the 1970s and went on to become a popular children's toy
Playmobil figures were created in the 1970s and went on to become a popular children's toy

The Playmobil plant in Malta is unlikely to be hit by job cuts announced by the German toymaker Horst Brandstaetter Group on Monday.

The company plans to cut 700 jobs worldwide by 2025, 369 of them in Germany amid falls in sales and profit over the past two years. The decision affects 17% of the workforce globally and 16% in Germany.

Sources at the Playmobil plant in Hal Far said the Malta plant had been reducing its headcount through natural attrition over the past two years. The Malta plant employs hundreds of workers.

“People who retired or moved on were not replaced,” the sources said, suggesting the job cuts announced this week are unlikely to impact the Malta plant.

In a statement, Horst Brandstaetter Group said the “fundamental restructuring” comes in the wake of “the worst global recession since World War II”, triggered by the COVID pandemic and made worse by the Ukraine war and supply chain disruptions.

“The company management took this decision after a comprehensive analysis of all divisions and in light of the development of the business and current economic challenges,” it said in a statement.

For the 2021-22 business year, the group reported a 2.8% drop in turnover to €736 million.

The group said the job cuts will help transform the company into a “lean and powerful, internationally well-positioned company” with strong investment in its core brands.

It said it would work with unions and worker representatives to minimise the impacts on employees by encouraging early retirement or transfers to other business divisions within the group.

In 1958, the company launched the first hula hoop which went on to become a worldwide hit.

In 1974, the company developed its flagship plastic figures that range from police and indians to pirates, clowns and princesses.

Brandstatter opened its first overseas factory in Malta in 1971 when it was known as Brand International.

MaltaToday has reached out to the Horst Brandstaetter Group but no reply was forthcoming.