Plastic Omnium says staff are working from home where possible, while those who enter the supplier’s plants have their temperature checked and production is organised to avoid contact between employees when changing shifts.

Workstations and common areas are disinfected between each change of shift, while the number of employees is restricted in common areas, such as canteens and break rooms.

“All travel is forbidden and outside visitors are not allowed to enter the Group’s sites,” said a Plastic Omnium statement. “In strict compliance with the measures taken by the authorities in each country where the Group has facilities and based on the shutdowns of carmakers’ production chains, Plastic Omnium is forced to close its own production centres.

“These shutdowns started to impact all Chinese facilities at the beginning of February, 2020. These plants have all recently started up production again, including facilities located in Hubei Province. Utilisation rate of these plants is increasing: from around 20% at start-up, it is now about 50% and should increase further in coming weeks.”

The Group’s European plants have been gradually shut down since mid-March, based on carmakers’ plant closure announcements. These shutdowns firstly concerned France and Spain and then gradually affected all European facilities, which will be closed by the middle of this week for the minimum periods announced thus far by carmakers, that is, two weeks to a month.

The North and South American plants, also impacted by client shutdowns, will stop operating in the coming days. The situation is monitored on a daily basis, plant by plant.

Partial unemployment measures are being put in place in European and American plants; they will also be applied in all of the Group’s R&D and administrative centres, with the exception of China.

“The Group’s executives, more mobilised than ever to deal with the situation, will be contributing to the Group’s efforts by reviewing compensation downwards during the period shutdown of operations,” added the supplier.

“They are not concerned by short-term working measures. Anticipating a significant fall in automotive production ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Group was able to begin setting up an extremely efficient organisational system several months ago with a view to cutting costs, controlling investments, optimising working capital requirement, and protecting all means to generate cash. This organisational system is now allowing the Group to act very quickly in order to strengthen these measures.”

All non-essential spending commitments are suspended with the application of this decision being strictly controlled. Cost cutting plans are subject of daily reports, while cash flow is being monitored on a daily basis, thanks to the global cash-pooling in place within the Group.

“The Group’s financial structure is very robust,” added the company. “Plastic Omnium has undertaken stress tests concerning its cash in the event of the pandemic spreading. These simulations confirm all measures taken and the large-scale cash flow which can be mobilised on a short-term basis will enable the Group to deal with a global shutdown of production until at least the end of the first semester while respecting all payment dates.

“The group will provide an update on its situation when releasing its Q1 sales, on April 21, 2020, once we have a better outlook on the automotive market evolution.”