Tyne & Wear

Jobs threat as Reckitt Benckiser plans Peterlee closure

Cleaning products giant Reckitt Benckiser has announced plans to close its factory in County Durham with the loss of 321 jobs.

If the move goes ahead the Peterlee factory would close in 2014.

The factory currently produces over the counter medicines, such as Meltus, Remegel and Cuprofen.

Reckitt Benckiser said it could cover the production at other factories. It bought the Peterlee plant last year and said it would review the operation.

The firm said its review had been completed and that it could absorb Peterlee's production capacity at its other factories. The company said it had invested £100m in three factories at Nottingham, Hull and Derby over the past five years.

Reckitt Benckiser has now entered a 90-day consultation period with staff on the proposed three-year phased transfer of production.

The firm said in a statement it believed the "proposal will protect the longterm future growth and profitability of the business."

On Thursday, shares in Reckitt Benckiser fell after it announced chief executive Bart Becht would step down and later retire.

He will be replaced by Rakesh Kapoor, who has been at the firm for 25 years.

Reckitt Benckiser makes products such as Dettol, Clearasil, Cillit Bang, Strepsils and Gaviscon. It employs 25,000 people worldwide with operations in 60 countries.

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