SHARES in Devro, the sausage skin maker, were down almost two per cent after it announced that 90 jobs are at risk under plans to close one of its Scottish sites.

The move to shut its Bellshill factory will come as a blow to the North Lanarkshire community and comes after an earlier effort to secure jobs.

Four years ago the company said that investing £1 million to upgrade existing lines and increase capacity and efficiency in Bellshill would mark the end of a restructuring in Scotland.

That included the reduction of the workforce across its Moodiesburn and Bellshill factories by around 130 to 400.

READ MORE: 90 jobs at risk as sausage skin maker Devro announces Bellshill factory closure

Devro, which supplies collagen casing for food, said a review of its manufacturing operations had concluded that the firm has “excess infrastructure”.

The closure will save the company about £5m a year, it said.

It intends to increase the range of products made at its Moodiesburn site, also in North Lanarkshire, which recently received a £2m investment.

A period of consultation for workers has now started.

The firm said: “In line with our strategic priorities, the group has undertaken a review of its global manufacturing footprint with the aim to pursue further efficiency improvements, as well as to align available capacity to the group’s growth ambitions.

“As a result of this review we are proposing to close our Bellshill site in Scotland and, consequently, to increase the portfolio of products manufactured in our Moodiesburn site and relocate some of the Bellshill’s manufacturing assets within the wider group.

“Following consultation, we expect Bellshill to close during 2020 with the loss of [around] 90 employees.”

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Rutger Helbing, chief executive, said: “Scotland will remain strategically important to Devro’s global operations.

“However, the collagen market is evolving and we must look at how we manage our business and stay competitive.

“Decisions like this are never easy. I know this will be an uncertain time for many colleagues, their families and the wider community.

“Our priority now is to ensure we have the right support in place for those who may be affected by these plans.”

The firm said in a trading update that sales momentum improved during in the third quarter 2019 - for the period July 1 to September 30, 2019 - with 1% volume growth in collagen casings against a decrease 1%.

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It said: “During the period we saw good trading in North America, where we benefited from continued growth in snacking categories, and also in China, due to continued strong growth albeit at margins below the average for the group.

“These positive performances were offset by a further deterioration in market conditions in continental Europe and weaker than expected sales in Japan.

“As anticipated, UK & Ireland and Australia saw similar trends to the first half of 2019.”

“Our cost saving initiatives are progressing well and we are confident of achieving our guidance of £7m in [full year] 2019.”

Last year chief executive Peter Page, who helped guided the company back to volume growth, stepped down after for more than 10 years.

Mr Helbing took over from Mr Page from the role of finance director.

The company also has factories in China, Australia, the US, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Unite the Union said it was in consultation with the company.

Wendy Dunsmore, of Unite, said: “The company has stated that it wants to increase the range of products at its nearby site in Moodiesburn. We are calling on the company to guarantee job security and a future for the Moodiesburn site.”