Give my regards to Reigate: Print biz Canon to up sticks in the sticks

EMEA and UK teams to colocate in Uxbridge, local MP shakes fist at stalled Brexit

Canon is to shutter its Reigate office in deepest Surrey in favour of the unbridled glamour of Uxbridge.

In an announcement chock full of phrases like "customer centricity", Canon pointed the finger of blame at its plans to move to a "Business Process Outsource" (BPO) model for finance, business operations and customer services.

This in turn means the Reigate site "will have significant over capacity for future requirements" and so the axe must be swung in a move that, er, "underscores Canon's full commitment to the UK" – unless you work in Reigate.

Keen to fend off accusations of a Brexit-based exodus, Canon insisted that all it was doing was colocating its UK & Ireland Headquarters with that of the Uxbridge-based EMEA HQ. It's all about efficiency, right?

The EMEA HQ has lurked in Uxbridge for the last 18 years.

This, of course, has not stopped local MP Crispin Blunt – runner-up to Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt in the 2019 Rhyming Slang Championship – from spluttering about the UK's faffing over its exit from the European Union.

Fingering a downturn in profitability resulting from Brexit uncertainty and currency weakness, Blunt said: "I would argue that a firm decision to stick to the UK's original deadline for leaving the EU may have prevented this happening" due to the unpredictable economic outlook for the UK while politicians squabble.

It seems there is no business decision that can escape the whiff of Brexit, regardless of the insistence of the companies involved.

To be fair to Blunt, Canon itself worried about the "B" word in its latest set of results (PDF), the outlook of which showed a decline of 2.6 per cent in net sales between FY2018 and FY2019 and a worrying drop of 20.1 per cent in operating profit.

The company warned that the "manufacturing sector turned bearish" as exports declined in Germany and the UK, and worried that a European recovery would decelerate amid "continued uncertainty surrounding the UK's decision to leave the EU".

The closure of the Reigate site will take up to 12 months. Blunt reckoned that 450 staff would be affected, with some relocated and others looking for work in the leafy hills of Surrey. The Register spoke to Canon, who told us that the staff going through the consultation process actually numbered 425.

Regardless, Blunt still insisted that Canon had been "in many ways" a model employer.

Yusuke Mizoguchi, Managing Director of Canon UK&I, commented: "Canon UK&I is one of the most important National Sales Organisations in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region and will continue to retain its own identity."

Just not important enough to keep its own office in Reigate, it would appear. ®

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