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Fears for 89 jobs at Crane Stockham Valve as US firm announces closure of Belfast factory

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The Crane Stockham Valve factory in east Belfast is to be shut down

The Crane Stockham Valve factory in east Belfast is to be shut down

The Crane Stockham Valve factory in east Belfast is to be shut down

Nearly 90 jobs are to go at a factory in east Belfast after a decision by its US owner to shut the plant.

Crane Stockham Valve, which is part of Crane Co, operates from a site on Alexander Road in Castlereagh, where it employs 89 people.

The business, which was established around 1955, manufactured valves for the oil and gas, power, petro-chemical and water markets.

Now its Connecticut-based parent company has announced plans to shut the site in the second half of next year.

A Crane Co spokesman said that staff in Castlereagh could be offered jobs at other Crane sites and at a "smaller office" in Belfast.

"Market forces have led to losses for the past five years and, despite significant investment in new technology, equipment and products, we have unfortunately come to this proposal," the spokesman said.

"Crane Co intends to continue to employ some of the associates following the closure in a smaller office and will look for other employment opportunities for affected associates at other Crane sites as well."

However, he said there were was no detail yet on how many staff could potentially be redeployed.

A staff member told the Belfast Telegraph that a manager had flown in from the United States to break the news to the workers.

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, said the closure was a consequence of falling prices in the gas and oil market.

"Belfast had carved out a bit of a role in engineering in the oil and gas industry and it seems investment has dried up a bit as prices have been depressed in the sector," he added.

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