Fears for 200 jobs at gas factory

Up to 200 jobs are under threat after a company which makes gas-related products announced plans to close a factory near Wrexham.

Air Products in Acrefair said it was in response to changing demand and what it called "difficult, changing times".

The plant, open since 1950, employs 140 craftsmen and 50 in management and administration. It the UK's leading supplier of home oxygen to patients.

The company said it would consult with staff in the coming weeks.

Laurence O'Donnell, general manager at Acrefair, said: "I am very sad to confirm that today we informed our employees that we are considering a proposal to close our manufacturing facility in Acrefair, north Wales.

"Regrettably, this is a very difficult time for our people and their welfare is an important concern for us.

'Changing demand'

"We are committed to listening to their views about the proposal in the coming weeks.

"We have to review this proposal in response to the changing demand for our manufacturing products, which is shifting to other parts of the world, notably Asia, and intensified by the challenging economic environment.

"This situation we find ourselves in is very difficult but like many companies we are forced to consider every possible option to remain competitive during these difficult, changing times."

The company supplies gas and related equipment to a wide range of industries, and describes itself as the UK's leading provider of home oxygen, serving more than 50,000 patients.

Other areas include gases for balloons, rubber and plastic materials, as well as petrochemicals and refining.

The Acrefair plant manufactures and exports industrial gases and equipment around the world.

Its products include equipment for air separation, natural gas liquefaction and hydrogen purification.