Britain's already embattled manufacturing sector would be left fighting for its long-term survival if Britain votes to leave the European Union.
Asked about its survival prospects outside of the EU, professor Marco Taisch, chairman of the World Manufacturing Forum, told City A.M: "It's a matter of time. It can survive for five to seven years, but long-term it can't."
He said that business is becoming increasingly connected which will make it harder for smaller players. This trend isn't limited to just technology, and also extends to shared knowledge, information as well as research.
"You need to do innovation together, you need to join forces. It's not as it was 30 years ago when you can do research by yourself. You need a lot of investment, knowledge and technology transfer," Taisch added.
This would come at a time when British manufacturers' competitiveness is being hobbled by the strong pound, just as global economic malaise saps demand.
A widely-watched economic indicator released yesterday showed confidence among British manufacturers plummeted last month, stoking fears about a slowdown in the sector and the wider economy.