Nearly half the workforce at a Parker Pen manufacturing facility in East Sussex could lose their jobs.
The famous pen maker will continue production in Newhaven
The pen maker said it would continue production at its Newhaven site, but was working towards "investing more in branding and product innovation".
The shedding of 200 jobs is now subject to a formal 90-day consultation period.
Local MP Norman Baker was visiting the plant on Friday. He said the news was "a major disappointment", but he wanted to help find "a positive way forward".
Mr Baker was due to meet Jim Haggerty, a Parker Pen Company director, who said the downsizing at Newhaven had been a "difficult proposal to make".
"It is no reflection on the highly-valued work performed by our employees," Mr Haggerty added.
"I would like to assure all affected employees that they will be treated with the utmost respect at all stages of the process."
And he said that anyone made redundant would be offered support in finding a new job.
Mr Baker commented: "Parker Pen is the most prestigious employer in Newhaven and a cornerstone of the town.
"I can only hope that any job losses do not have an adverse effect on the wider economy."
Parker Pen currently employs about 420 people in Newhaven.