South East Wales

Essentra: 150 jobs could go in Newport factory closure

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWorkers react to the threat of closure at Newport's Essentra factory

About 150 jobs could be at risk under plans to close a packaging factory in Newport.

Essentra's IP5 cartons plant, based at Imperial Park in Coedkernew, mainly makes gift boxes for the retail industry.

The company has previously received more than £500,000 from the Welsh Government to help expand its operations in the city.

The Welsh Government said it was "deeply disappointed" at the news.

Essentra said the site had an operating loss of £3.4m from January to June and profitability was not set to improve.

A consultation has begun on plans to stop production at the factory and, if agreed, work would cease by the end of the year.

The proposal does not impact the firm's other Newport factory, IP4, which makes labels.

The company said it understood the announcement would "cause a great deal of uncertainty" for staff and it would "provide as much support as possible as matters progress through the consultation process".

Chief executive Paul Forman 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."

One worker leaving the IP5 plant on Thursday said staff were still "going through meetings with management".

"The mood is very low," added another worker. "I think everyone is the same, nobody wants to lose their jobs."

Another employee added: "It's quite bad. It's a job at the end of the day - we'll just have to get new jobs."

Mohammad Asghar, Conservative AM for South Wales East, said the news was disappointing.

"The Essentra cartons plant has received substantial investment from the Welsh Labour Government to help expand its operations in the city," he said.

"This has clearly not succeeded - and down the line there will be some serious questions for ministers to answer.

'Troubling'

Jayne Bryant, Labour AM for Newport West, said she was "concerned" and has had discussions with Essentra's management and Economy Secretary Ken Skates.

"The business has been financially supported by Welsh Government and I have been advised that Welsh Government is now in touch with the company so they can discuss the implications of this announcement," she said.

Steffan Lewis, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, called the announcement "troubling".

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "This will be a worrying time for workers and their families and we will be working closely with the company and others to ensure employees are fully supported throughout this difficult period."

Newport council leader Debbie Wilcox said it was "extremely sad news for the city and especially for the employees and their families".

More on this story