Jobs at risk as Avana Bakeries closes
A Newport bakery which employs 650 workers is to close, say bosses.
Avana Bakeries, in Rogerstone, announced in February jobs were at risk after it lost a multi-million pound cake contract.
In a statement, the company said it was trying to minimise the number of redundancies by seeking volunteers and looking to redeploy staff elsewhere.
Newport West AM Rosemary Butler described the news as "absolutely devastating".
The bakery is expected to close in the summer.
Its owners 2 Sisters Food Group launched a 45-day consultation period with staff after announcing it had lost a deal with Marks and Spencer which made up 85% of what the Avana bakery produces.
An Avana statement said: "During the consultation, we have fully explored all the options available to us since losing what was the principal customer contract for the site.
"Sadly, we have been unable to find a way to keep the site viable.
"Our priority now is to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies through seeking volunteers and redeployment elsewhere."
Newport West MP Paul Flynn said: "This is a bitter blow for the individuals and families involved.
"It is an act of ingratitude following years of fine service provided in this industry.
"A great deal of work has been done to find alternatives to closure and it's very disappointing that none of this has been successful."
Mr Flynn said ministers needed to do everything possible to help workers find alternative jobs.
Dame Butler, assembly presiding officer, said she would also contact ministers to ensure the Welsh Government was doing all it could to help.
She said: "This is a sad day for the loyal workforce and for Newport as a whole.
"The business has been an integral part of the local community for many years and I am disappointed that Avana was unable to secure a new contract to safeguard its future."
M&S said Oldham-firm Park Cake Bakeries had won the contract, ending a 77-year history with the Avana bakery which was set up in the late 1800s.
A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: "Moving our cake supply was a tough decision and not one we took lightly, however it is an important part of making our food supply chain more efficient."
Newport council leader Bob Bright said it was upsetting news in an economic climate that remained "very challenging".