400 jobs could go at Clark

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The Independent Online
Matthew Clark is accelerating the integration of the Gaymer wine and cider business bought in October for £109m, by closing one manufacturing site and relocating its head office.

The move puts 200 jobs at risk with the possibility of a further 200 redundancies across the group in the next two years.

Yesterday's announcement, which involves closing a winery in Leeds and relocating it in Bristol, will account for only £3.5m of a total £8.5m provision made for relocation and redundancies when Clark took over Gaymer.

Peter Aikens, chief executive of Clark, declined to comment on future job losses, but said that up to 30 per cent of the 200 on the current redundancy list would be offered the chance to relocate to Bristol.

"There are a number of key middle management that we don't want to lose. And every one of them that I have spoken to so far is keen to move."

Of the job losses, 167 are at the Leeds winery and 40 at Clark's head office in Guildford, which will be moved to Bristol.

The decision to close the Leeds winery owes a great deal to frustration with local planners and protests from residents about increased noise levels.

Mr Aikens said it would also be easier to double output at the 17-acre Bristol site than at the eight-acre Leeds site.

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