Private-label ice cream manufacturer Hill Station has today (24 April) confirmed the scheduled closure of two manufacturing sites causing 17 redundancies so far - with further jobs on the line when the company closes a third plant this summer.

The measures are part of Hill Station's integration of the two companies it acquired on 18 November 2005 - Granelli McDermott Limited (Granelli) and Loseley Dairy Ice Cream Limited.

Hill Station vacated its former Granelli-owned Tattenhall, Cheshire site on 23 December 2005, transferring two workers and making the other ten redundant.  

On 31 March, the company ceased manufacturing at its Calne, Wiltshire site, as planned, with responsibility for all products transferred to Loseley's Cwmbran, Wales, along with one worker, with seven others receiving redundancy notifications.

A leased Hill Station storage facility, in Cheadle, Cheshire, was also vacated on 10 April. The five remaining production lines there are also being transferred to Cwmbran, with three of the transfers completed. The fourth transfer will be finished by the end of May. 

The fifth production line, and thus the entire Cheadle plant, will be closed by the end of August, with a programme of phased redundancies a possibility for the 55 employees working there. An ice cream extrusion line from Gram Equipment, Denmark, will be installed at the Cwmbran site to replace the final production line, in July.

Hill Station managing director Charles Hall said: "The steps we are announcing today confirm that we are on-track in executing the integration plan we formulated prior to completion of the two acquisitions in November 2005.  We closed our Tattenhall facility prior to the end of 2005, as planned, and have now closed Calne, also on schedule.

"The transfer of the Tattenhall lease seven months early is an added plus, as is our agreement to sell the Cheadle freehold with rent-free occupation to September 2006.  Finally, our decision to purchase a new Gram extrusion line is a confirmation that Hill Station will remain a competitive force in stick products and choc ices."