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Whatman set to close

Maidstone's oldest company looks set to close, with the loss of 101 jobs.

Whatman plc, now part of the international GE Healthcare Group, opened consultations with its employees this week on the possible closure of the Springfield site.

Company spokesman David Morris stressed that closure depended on the outcome of consulations scheduled to end in May.

The proposal is to transfer production to other sites in the UK, Asia and Sweden.

The business was founded as a paper mill by James Whatman in 1740. It now makes specialist medical flilter papers.

The company was once one of the town’s largest employers, with 1,000 people working across three sites, at Springfield, Park Wood and Allington.

The site will be sold.

Mr Morris said: "The proposal is no refelection on the staff, who have always worked with the utmost professionalism."

He said the closure was part of the company’s plans to maximise efficiency across its world-wide operations.

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