“Painful” closure of Huntingdon factory is confirmed by manufacturer

Dart Products factory in St Peter's Road, in Huntingdon. Picture: GOOGLE

Dart Products factory in St Peter's Road, in Huntingdon. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

Jobs are to be lost after a US-based manufacturer confirmed it would be closing its factory in Huntingdon.

It was revealed in April that Dart Products Europe had entered into consultation with staff at its St Peters Road facility in Huntingdon, and its distribution centre in Peterborough.

At the time, the Michigan-based firm, which manufactures packaging for food and drink products, said no decision had been made but, on June 4, the company confirmed 177 members of staff would be made redundant.

In a statement sent to the Hunts Post, the firm said: "Following several weeks of collective consultation with employees, Dart Container has made the difficult decision to cease operations by year's end at its manufacturing and distribution locations in Huntingdon and Peterborough.

"Approximately 170 employees eventually will be made redundant as a result of the decision."

Dart's Cradley Heath facility, in the West Midlands, was not included in the collective consultation process and will remain open, it is understood,

Jim Lammers, Dart president, said: "While we conducted meaningful discussions with employee representatives and carefully reviewed suggestions to minimise redundancies or avoid closure of our facilities, we have determined that sustained profitability improvement is not achievable in the medium to long term.

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"The closure is in response to a highly competitive European market and with little encouragement that Dart's financial position will change in the foreseeable future.

"This was a strategic but painful decision because we value the commitment and contributions of our Huntingdon and Peterborough employees, many of whom have been with us for decades."

According to the latest full accounts for Dart Europe, submitted to Companies House in April 2018, the firm posted losses of about £6.7million in 2016, and about £2.8million in 2017.

Production at the two locations will come to a close at the end of 2019 as the company fulfils its final orders to customers.

The Huntingdon and Peterborough locations were originally owned by Insulpak Ltd and Solo Cup Company before Dart purchased Solo and its UK assets in 2012.