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Fisons could disappear from area

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:31 03 March 2010

LINKS to one of the region's most famous names could be severed completely within a year.

The former Fisons fertiliser factory just outside Ipswich could close as the result of a review currently underway.

LINKS to one of the region's most famous names could be severed completely within a year.

The former Fisons fertiliser factory just outside Ipswich could close as the result of a review currently underway.

Up to 70 jobs are under threat at The Scotts Company in Bramford following an assessment by bosses to review its fertiliser and chemical manufacturing strategy in the UK.

The closure would signal the end of nearly 150 years of fertiliser production in the Suffolk village, since Joseph Fison established an agricultural business on the same site in 1858.

The Scotts Company will undergo a three-month consultation period with staff before any decision is made but if the Bramford plant does close, manufacturing will cease by the end of June next year.

Around 55 office-based jobs at the company's main office on the site would be unaffected by any decision and, in the result of closure, would support Scotts' other UK manufacturing operation in East Yorkshire and a second plant in Normandy, France.

Nick Kirkbride, managing director of Scotts, said the plan to close the plant had been undertaken "reluctantly".

He said: "The plan to close the Bramford production facility has been developed reluctantly to try to bring manufacturing capacity of granular fertilisation in line with market demand. We have two sites in the UK but both are operating below capacity.

"This consultation period will allow us to discuss the impact of the plan with the employees affected, before coming to a final decision."

He added that closure would not have an impact on product supply to the trade. Scotts is responsible for brands such as Evergreen lawn food, Tomorite feed for tomatoes, Miracle Gro, Pathclear and Levington.

The Bramford site, in Paper Mill Lane, was originally used last century by a number of companies, including Fisons, Packard and Prentice, for the packaging of agricultural fertilisers such as phosphates, bonemeal and guano.

After 70 years of operating independently, the three companies merged in 1929.

Over the following years eight other small fertiliser companies in East Anglia were brought into the fold and in 1960 Fisons Ltd was founded as the holding company for the group's interests.

The fertiliser company was sold to Norsk Hydro of Norway for £50 million in 1982.

In 1992 Fisons profits dipped and the company – by then a major drug manufacturer – was restructured.

"Non-core" businesses, including the UK horticultural division based in Bramford, were sold.

In 1994 the company completed the disposal of the Bramford business – its last operating company in Suffolk – with a buyout by Levington Horticulture.

The name at the Bramford site changed again in 1997 when Levington was acquired by the garden pest control and plant food giants Scotts of Marysville, Ohio.

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