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Packaging firm to shed 150 jobs ATWELSH plant.

Byline: Sion Barry Business editor sion.barry@walesonline.co.uk

A Newport-based packaging firm, which has expanded with backing from the Welsh Government, is proposing ending production of folding cartons in a move that could affect 150 jobs.

Essentra has begun a consultation with workers at its Imperial Parkbased operation in Newport, over the future of its so called IP5 factory.

However, the proposals don't impact on its IP4 label-making operation at the site.

It is proposed to end the production of folding cartons for the consumer goods market, including gift boxes, by the end of the year.

Paul Forman, chief executive of Essentra, said: "It is clearly with regret that we are entering into consultation on this proposal, and I and the project management team are committed to undertaking this process in an open, honest and respectful way.

"The possible closure of the IP5 site in Newport is in no way a reflection on the quality or commitment of our employees.

"Rather, the proposed closure of the facility will help to underpin the company's strategic objective of becoming the leading supplier of innovative packaging solutions and services, from a cost-effective and operationally efficient site footprint," added Mr Forman.

South Wales East Conservative AM Mohammad Asghar said: "This is disappointing news and will understandably be causing great anxiety and concern amongst the affected employees and their families.

"It is always extremely difficult for those affected by the prospect of redundancy, and this is sadly another blow for the area after similar job losses, with plans to cease trading at the site by the end of the year.

"The Essentra cartons plant has received substantial investment from the Welsh Labour Government to help expand its operations in the city - this has clearly not succeeded - and down the line there will be some serious questions for ministers to answer.

"In the meantime, the Welsh Government must step in immediately and consider what packages of support they will be able to offer the workers who have been made redundant, both in terms of retraining and support in securing new employment."

In February 2016 Essentra, whose clients also include the pharmaceutical sector, said it was creating a further 170 jobs in Newport, supported by a PS400,000 investment from the Welsh Government.

The expansion was expected to take total headcount to 300.

Essentra has 29 packaging manufacturing sites worldwide and customers in more than 100 countries are served from facilities in 10 countries, with development and design centres supporting the division worldwide.

Essentra opened its initial site on Imperial Park in 2014, into which it consolidated a number of its smaller packaging manufacturing operations.

It originally had a 52,000 sq ft facility at Imperial Park, with the latest in digital printing and cleanroom facilities for production of labels and primarily packaging foils for the healthcare and consumer goods end-markets.

And in 2015 it secured an adjacent 225,000 sq ft facility to support its expansion plans.

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<B Packaging company Essentra is proposing to close its carton-manufacturing operation in Newport

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 28, 2017
Words:508
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