Yes vote fears of Tour de France bike gear boss

Endura sponsors and manufactures cycling gear for Tour de France riders. Picture:AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani
Endura sponsors and manufactures cycling gear for Tour de France riders. Picture:AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani
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THE head of a Lothians firm that manufactures cycling gear for Tour de France racers has warned he would move part of his company out of the country in the event of a Yes vote.

Jim McFarlane, founder of Livingston-based Endura, said some of the work done at the company’s West Lothian site would most likely relocate to the Czech Republic if there was a Yes vote next month.

He has also put plans to expand the warehouse facility at the site on hold until after the referendum.

Endura, which was set up in the 1990s, sponsors and provides racing kit for two of the top road racing teams, Movistar and Net App Endura.

The firm, which employs almost 200 people in total, also kits out cycling clubs across the UK and makes clothing for everyday cyclists.

Mr McFarlane said: “We’ve been building jobs up in this area for nearly 20 years and it’s galling to have to consider exporting jobs rather than our products.”

With Endura selling much of the cycling equipment it produces overseas, his key concern is Scotland’s continuing membership of the European Union.

Mr McFarlane said: “We deal in multiple currencies, so something like currency is less of an issue for us. What we are primarily concerned about is having continued, unbroken membership of the European Union.

“I’m not saying we wouldn’t get in but there is substantial uncertainty about when we would get in and what the terms would be.

“That’s too much uncertainty for us, so if there is a vote for independence on September 18, on September 19 we will start making arrangements to relocate within the EU, and that would most likely be to the Czech Republic.”

He added: “The company would continue to trade because it would adapt. But I would rather keep the jobs in Scotland and we would probably lose about 25 to 30 jobs out of Scotland to the Czech Republic.”

He also said the company had put plans to expand its warehouse at the Livingston site on hold till after the referendum.

“It wouldn’t make sense to build a warehouse if we’re going to move elsewhere, so we’re having to sit on our hands until September 19. It’s holding us up.”

He spoke out as Scottish Labour finance spokesman Iain Gray visited the site.

Mr Gray said: “A lot of the debate about what companies and businesses might do following a Yes vote in September has tended to focus on large companies. But most businesses in Scotland are small to medium enterprises, and they account for over half of private-sector employment.”

“This could potentially have a very significant impact on the economy across Scotland.”