Page last updated at 08:10 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Firm confirms plant closure move

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Cookson employs 17,000 people across Europe and the US.

An engineering group is to close its Ayrshire plant with the loss of nearly 180 jobs, it has been announced.

Cookson said it planned to shut its manufacturing plant at Newmilns over the next 12 months.

The cost cutting exercise is part of moves to reduce its workforce by 1,250 worldwide, with its operations across Europe and the US also affected.

The firm makes components like ceramic filters and is particularly exposed to the steel and automotive industries.

Cookson also announced it is to launch a 240m rights issue in a bid to improve its debt position.

"Our markets have been hard hit in recent months, most notably in global steel production which has seen an unprecedented downturn," Cookson chef executive Nick Salmon said.

"In response we have been taking prompt and decisive action internally to reduce both cost and debt."

The firm currently employs about 17,000 people globally.

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