More than 200 jobs are set to be lost after it was announced a South Tyneside factory is to close.
Bosses at Essentra, which provides filter products for the tobacco industry, told workers at a meeting today that the Bedesway factory is to close before the end of the year - with manufacturing being shifted to Hungary.
The firm employs more than 200 workers at the factory.
Essentra (which was formerly known as Filtrona) has now entered a 45 day consultation period to discuss the site closure with those affected.
Hugh Ross, Managing Director of Essentra Europe, said: “As an innovator and complete solutions provider to the tobacco industry, it is essential that Essentra continues to identify evolving market trends and respond to them in a way that enables us to continue to add value to our customers.
“Essentra’s filter products business has a global footprint and a flexible manufacturing capability.
Combined with ongoing technology upgrades, this allows us to align with the strategies and footprint of our customers in the most efficient way possible, to provide them with a comprehensive and innovative product offering, compelling
value proposition and excellent service.
“In Europe, this alignment reflects the continued shift in consumer demand from mature Western countries to the more dynamic, developing markets in Eastern Europe.
Over the past ten years, cigarette sales volume in Western Europe has declined by almost 30%, with the tobacco companies supplied by Essentra responding to this trend by relocating their own manufacturing footprint to Central and Eastern Europe. Indeed, only a tiny percentage of the current filter production at our Jarrow facility is destined for the domestic UK market.
Having manufactured filters here since the 1940s, it is with regret that we are entering this consultation process.
“The possible closure of the Jarrow site is in no way a reflection on the quality or commitment of our employees.
“Rather, the proposed transfer of activities will help to underpin the Company’s long-term position as the leading global independent supplier of filter products and related services to the tobacco industry.”