Cork giant Amorim has axed nearly 200 jobs, blaming the worldwide economic downturn for the cuts.

Most of the 193 jobs to be lost are linked to the company’s manufacture of products for the automotive and construction industries.

However 75 redundancies will be made from Amorim’s forestry and stoppers business – with 53 directly connected to cork stopper production. All are from its Portuguese workforce

‘We have to anticipate what, sooner or later will, be arriving, which is the slowdown in wine consumption – just as there is a slowdown in people buying cars or dishwashers,’ said Amorim marketing and communications director Carlos de Jesus.

He added that the job losses were also linked to the ongoing consolidation of the cork industry, which could be accelerated by the global economic slump.

‘You’re probably going to see other companies that will not be able to manage through this crisis,’ he said.

He insisted that Amorim had ‘the balance sheet to endure this’.

Meanwhile, decanter.com understands there is a great deal speculation circulating as to the viability of other cork manufacturers.

Written by Richard Woodard