UK snack manufacturer United Biscuits is to cut up to 900 jobs when it closes its biscuit factory in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, at the end of 2004.

The company said the decision arose from a need to move production to the company's other biscuit sites, which are bigger and have greater capacity for growth.

Chairman and CEO Malcolm Ritchie said the proposed closure would reshape and improve United Biscuits and was the "best solution" for the long-term success of the business.

United Biscuits currently has three operations in Ashby de la Zouch and will retain its national distribution centre and snacks factory there.