MORE than 160 people will lose their jobs under plans to close a pharmaceutical packaging company in Swindon.

TD Packaging, in Stephenson Road, Groundwell Industrial Estate, has proved unprofitable for multinational parent company United Drug, and the decision to close the factory was taken in early May with costs to upgrade the facility deemed too high.

The 45-day consultation period for staff affected by the plans ended last week, and a spokesman for United Drug said there was currently no planned date for closure of the facility, although it is expected to shut down within the next nine to 12 months.

The spokesman said: “The facility has been unprofitable for some time and, despite all our efforts, sales have remained relatively flat.

“Across the industry, regulatory and customer expectations are becoming increasingly demanding. The cost of upgrading the facility to meet these expectations and to bring the facility up to United Drug’s required standard for the future was not considered to be economically viable for the company as a whole.

There are 169 people employed at the facility, with several engineers and part-time staff already departed, according to one worker still at the plant.

The worker said: “Now that the 45 days are up I think they are well within their rights to shut us down the moment customers no longer need to use our facility.

“United Drug is quite a cash-rich company, so it is surprising they took this step.

“They are giving us next to nothing in the way of a redundancy package.”

The insider said a European director of the Irish pharmaceutical corporation arrived at the Swindon factory and announced the decision to the team in early May, when the consultation period officially started.

United Drug took the decision to close the Swindon branch, which packages, labels, designs and dispatches medical products, after a 12-month review of their European packaging businesses.

“We will be offering our employees generous terms, including incentives to continue working at the company during the period up to the closure of the facility,” the spokesman said.

“We are also making ourselves available for consultation with local organisations which may be working to identify alternative employment.”