A Teesside foundry is to close before the end of the year resulting in 65 job losses.
News of the closure has been announced to workers at ESCO Corporation in Guisborough, part of the ESCO Corporation which operates in 28 other countries around the world.
Directors at the business, which employs 55 foundry workers and 10 office staff, said the firm has been focussed on satisfying European customers.
However, demand for its products – excavator components for the construction industry – have slipped dramatically.
Tim Myers, president of US-based ESCO’s construction and industrial division, said the foundry had been running at less than half its capacity, and the decision to go ahead with the shutdown had been a “last resort”.
After meeting with the workforce to tell them the news, he said: “We will be working with staff to help place them into other jobs, as we wind the business down.
“There are two ways to close the plant. We can just shut the gates, or give staff enough advance notice for them to make the transition to other opportunities; and that’s what we are doing.
“This closure is very difficult because ESCO’s Guisborough employees have done an outstanding job of producing high quality products in a responsive and responsible operation.
“This group is innovative, diligent and dedicated and ESCO is saddened to lose them.”
The Guisborough facility had been focused on supplying European markets, Mr Myers added.
“Since the crash of 2008, construction markets globally have continued to be down significantly in Europe,” he said.
“We are seeing markets down at least 30% from their 2007 peak, and we just don’t have enough business to operate the foundry effectively.
“It’s a product that requires high quality but also a good cost position, and if you are operating at half the capacity, you just can’t get there.
“We have been working on how to change this situation for a while, but we don’t see a change in the markets in any significant way moving forward and there’s a need to reduce our footprint capacity.
“ESCO continues to excel at providing customers with larger, highly engineered products, however, the Guisborough foundry produces smaller products where price and access to markets is critical.
“We cannot be cost competitive if we continue to manufacture these small products in a plant that is located far from our customers and running at partial capacity.”
ESCO purchased the foundry from William Cook Cast Products in 1997 to serve its European customers.
The decommissioning process for the plant will begin in late November, and the facility will be prepared for sale.