Jobs are to go at one of Huddersfield’s most famous firms – despite it doubling turnover and boosting employment.

Linthwaite-based pharmaceutical firm Thornton & Ross Ltd is to axe 44 posts by handing its warehousing and distribution operations to another company, UDG, based in the East Midlands from September.

It will mean closing the firm’s warehousing facilities at Linthwaite, Marsden and Bedford and transferring those operations to UDG’s site at junction 28 of the M1 at South Normanton, Derbyshire.

Thornton & Ross said it was working closely with the employees affected to find them alternative work. Staff would be able to transfer to UDG if they wished while a number of vacancies had been left open in other departments at Linthwaite.

Thornton and Ross in Linthwaite
Thornton and Ross in Linthwaite
 

The move comes eight months after Thornton & Ross was taken over by German pharmaceutical group Stada Arzneimittel AG in a £221.11m deal which has resulted in the Linthwaite site expanding its manufacturing activities.

Dieno George, director at Linthwaite, said the company had almost doubled turnover from £60m a few years ago to £120m and had seen a 25% increase in employment to 525.

But he said the firm’s warehouses had been operating at capacity on and off for some time and had become inefficient.

“We looked around this area for another site, but we could not find anything that would be appropriate,” he said. “Ours is a highly-regulated industry and those regulations are becoming stricter, which not only affects where you store pharmaceuticals but also how you transport them. Outsourcing the distribution and warehousing was the only practical solution.”

Mr George said: “We expect to invest in Linthwaite to get to £200m turnover and there are going to be lots more jobs. We are committed to the site and we have become a very important part of Stada. They have given us all this new business and we are growing in the UK and internationally.

“We are investing in new capacity for creams, liquids and packaging and we are creating more space for manufacturing as well as building a new laboratory. It is a success story.

“We don’t like to disappoint any of our employees and we are doing the best we can to minimise any problems.”

Thornton & Ross, famous for products including Covonia cough medicine, Hedrin head lice treatment, Radian B muscle rub and Zoflora cleaning fluid, was bought by Stada last August.

The move marked the end of an era for the family firm – with chairman Jonathan Thornton, the grandson of one of the founders, leaving the firm after almost 30 years with the company.

At the time of the takeover, Stada said Thornton & Ross would pledged the firm would retain its name and stay in Huddersfield as a “centre of excellence”. Mr George said Stada had lived up to that promise.

Click here to take you back to more Huddersfield news.

Want to read, watch and hear more? You can download the FREE Examiner Apple App here, the FREE Examiner Android App here or you can view the paper as an e-edition on your Apple, Android or Kindle device by clicking here

To follow us on Twitter click here