Tees

Teesside floor firm to close with 163 job losses

A Teesside vinyl floor manufacturer is to close with the loss of more than 160 jobs.

US-owned Armstrong World Industries said it had started a 90-day consultation with 163 staff at its factory in Stockton.

The factory makes a range of products, including the Rhinofloor brand.

The company said it had suffered a fall in demand in recent years and had long-term plans to move out of the European residential flooring market.

Executive vice-president Frank Ready said: "The decision to exit the residential flooring business in Europe and the proposal to close our plant at Teesside were not taken lightly.

'Smooth transition'

"A review of potential options for the location and employees, including a sale, has been and continues to be conducted. Unfortunately, to date we have not found a workable alternative."

The firm has said its operations in Gateshead and Stafford were unaffected.

Mr Ready added: "Armstrong takes its responsibility to its employees very seriously.

"We will be supporting our staff, customers and suppliers to ensure a smooth transition.

"The withdrawal from the European residential business is considered to be necessary for Armstrong to focus on the commercial flooring business and those markets where we have leading positions in order to build a sustainable and profitable business."

The company employs more than 10,000 people in 35 factories in nine countries.

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