ISA France Closes Its Doors After
Facing the Threat of Bankruptcy
By Kathy Ortt
ISA France, which has developed and manufactured quartz movements for more than 50 years, was placed in receivership on October 5, 2106, by the Commercial Court of Besancon. The company, located in Villers-le-Lac near Morteau, was initially given six months to find a buyer, but has now filed for bankruptcy.
In a letter, also dated October 5, 2016, Charles Chong, Chairman and CEO of ISA Group of Companies, informed customers on ISA Swiss letterhead that, “In view of the rapid slump of the global watch market and the less visibility of the future global economic environment….we are reluctantly forced to make a decision to cease the global operation of ISA Group of Companies.” The letter contained assurances to ISA customers of the company’s intention to produce and deliver as many outstanding orders as possible before it ceases operation at the close of October 2016.
Of ISA’s 74 employees, most live locally and are facing uncertain futures after the Hong Kong-based shareholder decided to end all activities related to the quartz movement. ISA had already restructured in 2015, cutting 20 jobs. ISA initially stated that management’s intention was to follow the recommendations of the receiver appointed by the Commercial Court. The pullout of financial backing from the Asian stockholder also affects Swiss ISA, based in Brenets, where 45 other employees may be negatively affected.
ISA France had implemented a diversification to protect against the downturn in sales. The plant began production to supply high-precision parts to other companies, particularly in the areas of medical and aerospace industry.
According to the ARCINFO.ch website, Swiss watch exports were down 8.8% to 1.4 billion Swiss francs, and in Hong Kong sales have dropped another 28.7%, continuing an 18-month decline.
Kathy Ortt is an editor for the Horological Times.