Imperial Tobacco to close factories by 2016

Imperial Tobacco Imperial Tobacco said the closures would take place over the next two years

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Imperial Tobacco has announced it is to close two factories under restructuring plans.

Factories in Nottingham and France will undergo phased closures in the next two years with the loss of almost 900 jobs.

The firm, which produces cigarette brands including Lambert and Butler, JPS and Gauloises, blamed declining sales for the decision.

It added the factory in Thane Road, Nottingham, which employs 540 staff, was using only half of its capacity.

They said a consultation on the firm's restructure plans had begun with unions.

'Phenomenal loss'

Imperial Tobacco said about 320 people are employed at the factory in Carquefou, near Nantes and a further 130 new jobs would be created at a factory in Poland.

Chief executive Alison Cooper, said: "These projects are an essential part of securing the sustainable future of the business.

"The prospect of job losses is always regrettable and we will be doing all we can to support employees and ensure that they are treated in a fair and responsible manner."

Chris Needham from the GMB Union said the Nottingham factory produced 17 billion cigarettes per year and contributed £500m to the local economy.

He said the company made £3.18 billion profits last year and was moving its operations to Eastern Europe to "make even more money".

"The loss to the local economy will be phenomenal," he added.

"Closing the factory will be a massive blow to Nottingham.

"GMB will now consult our members and we will be seeking their support to oppose the closure.

"We will seek to mobilise support from all elected politicians across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to get this decision overturned."

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