Imperial blames falling sales and stricter anti-smoking laws for closure of Nottingham factory

April 15, 2014

Bristol-based Imperial Tobacco Group is to close its cigarette factory in Nottingham with the loss of all 540 jobs, it announced this week.

The group, whose brands include JPS, Lambert & Butler and Gauloises, blamed falling sales of cigarettes and tougher anti-smoking regulations in Europe. A plant in Nantes, France, employing 360 people will also close with a further 120 jobs losses in research and development at Bergerac and sales and support in Paris.

The closures will take place over the next two years, Imperial said today, adding that both factories are now operating at under half their capacity.

However, 80 jobs could be created in France as part of the European restructuring, which is aimed at strengthening Imperial's competitive position.

Imperial’s global head office in Bristol is not affected.

The Nottingham factory has capacity to make 36bn cigarettes a year but Imperial said today it will only produce 17bn this year. Production and distribution will be relocated to other European factories and outsourcing distribution.

The Nantes factory, which has capacity to make 21bn cigarettes a year, will produce 9bn this year. Its production will also be moved to other European factories.

In a statement, Imperial said: “The proposed closures reflect declining industry volumes in Europe, impacted by tough economic conditions, increasing regulation and excise and growth in illicit trade. Production has been affected at the Nottingham and Nantes sites, which now utilise less than half their manufacturing capacity.

“Employees, works councils and trade unions have been informed and consultation processes are now underway. A comprehensive range of measures to support employees will be discussed as part of the consultations.”

 Chief executive Alison Cooper added: “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."

The closures are the latest in Imperial’s ‘cost optimisation’ programme aimed at saving £300m a year from September 2018.

The group has 46 manufacturing sites around the world and employs 35,000 in 160 countries.

The firm no longer manufactures in Bristol. Its last factory in its home city, which made small cigars, closed more than four years ago and is now the site of its global HQ in Winterstoke Road.


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