MANUFACTURING staff at one of Hereford's most well-known names from the world of business will work their last day on Christmas Eve.

The Hereford Times understands that Denco Happel is making 23 employees redundant from its Moreton-on-Lugg premises as the business moves work overseas.

The company, formerly known as GEA Heat Exchangers, GEA Denco Systems, moved to the Moreton Business Park to build its air conditioning systems in 2006.

Denco had previously been based on Holmer Road in Hereford, having grown into one of the city's largest employers after forming in 1944.

The company employed 250 staff when it was announced in 2003 that Denco would be leaving Holmer for the site alongside the A49.

But it is understood that the workforce has steadily reduced and more than half of the production staff were let go following internal changes in 2012.

The Hereford Times has made a number of calls to speak to John Tandy – the company's managing director at the Moreton site, but is yet to receive an official response to confirm the redundancies.

However, an employee who did not want to be named, explained that all manufacturing staff would be no longer needed from December 24.

He said staff were told two months ago that their jobs were in danger, despite there being no shortage of work available.

And the worst possible outcome was later confirmed, with bosses saying that work would be transferred to Denco Happel factories in the Czech Republic to "save money on staff costs".

Denco Happel has its headquarters in Herne, Germany, with production sites based in Turkey, China and India in addition to Herefordshire and the Czech Republic.

The employee said all manufacturing staff would be made redundant, but office staff would stay on site.

He added that it was believed the factory would be used for storage but no more air conditioning units would be made in Herefordshire.