Staff at Cartamundi in Waterford have been told the company plans to wind down operations over the summer months - with a planned closure by the end of August.
The multinational toy and board game company (formerly Hasbro and MB Ireland) has been in Waterford for 45 years, and manufactures games such as Monopoly, Twister, Connect 4, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble.
The Waterford plant is the largest European games manufacturing plant in the Cartamundi group, employing 234 people.
A staff meeting took place at the site today.
The multinational toy and board game company was first opened on the Cork Road in Waterford in 1977.
In 2015, when taken over by Belgian company, Cartamundi, there were 160 people employed.
In November last year, the company confirmed to WLR News that work-force changes were going to be implemented because of a reduced demand from their customers globally.
The manufacturer said at the time that demand for their games had dropped after the pandemic.
However, they said they remained confident in the future of the Waterford plant.
It now appears that confidence has dissipated and WLR News has been told that the company will close later this year.
A full press briefing is to take place this afternoon.
Staff who spoke to WLR said they had an indication this news was coming.
"We knew it was coming but it's still a shock," said one staff member.
Many staff have more than 20 years service.
A full statement to WLR News from Cartamundi reads as follows:
Post Covid decline in demand for board games, coupled with inflation and overcapacity, leads to closure of Cartamundi Waterford plant
Cartamundi Group, headquartered in Belgium and the parent company of Cartamundi Ireland, has announced its intention to cease production at its plant in Waterford due to the post Covid decline in demand for board games.
The company has been manufacturing board games and other items in the Waterford plant since 2015 and currently employs 234 people.
Cartamundi Group says that the intention to close the factory is the result of structural overcapacity and reduced demand for board games globally post Covid. Sales during Covid and through 2021 were strong and peaked mid 2022. The situation has been aggravated by the increase in raw material and energy costs, which has impacted manufacturers globally.
It is anticipated that the closure will be phased over a number of months until August 2023.
The announcement was made to employees at the Waterford plant today by David Germis, President of Cartamundi Solutions Division and Barry Morrissey, Managing Director, Cartamundi Ireland.
Cartamundi will now begin consultations with employees, their representatives and state agencies.
David Germis said: “It is particularly regrettable that we plan to close our Waterford facility. It has been a source of reliable quality production and we wish to thank the management and employees for their dedication and continued application in ensuring the continuous supply of products to our customers, particularly in the recent difficult times. The factory in Waterford has been suffering losses for many months now and this is not sustainable.”
Barry Morrissey said: “This is a very sad day for Cartamundi Ireland. We are very proud of the quality of the work and the legacy of the plant and its people in Waterford and appreciate the efforts of everyone at the plant. Our immediate concern is the welfare of our employees. We would like to thank all our employees for their ongoing commitment, in particular during the uncertainty of recent months, and we thank IDA Ireland, the Irish Government, the local community, suppliers and customers for their support.”
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