The UK subsidiary of Leaf International, which makes Chewits, is closing barely two years after production was moved to Slovakia.

Bendicks of Mayfair will take on the UK marketing, sales and distribution of the Chewits brand from June.

These had been Leaf UK's only responsibilities following the closure of its Merseyside factory in 2006. Leaf International will continue to manufacture Chewits in Slovakia.

Bendicks' finance director Ian Macintrye said it was "disappointing for Leaf" but "a lovely opportunity and a natural fit" for Bendicks.

"When Leaf closed its Southport factory most of the production moved to Slovakia," he said. "There were initial start-up problems and issues with supply in 2007. They were resolved but Leaf didn't have the scale to support a standalone structure in the UK."

The majority of Leaf UK's 35 staff face redundancy when its commercial offices in Southport close in June. A small number will join Bendicks in sales and marketing roles.

Parent company Leaf International would continue to support the Chewits brand in the UK, said Stuart Lane, Leaf International's commercial director. "Brand ownership remains with Leaf," Lane said. "NPD in the pipeline will be unveiled later in the year."

Bendicks said it was looking forward to working with Leaf to fulfil the potential of the Chewits brand. "Chewits is such a good fit with us. We have the same customers, same delivery points and it will only require a few extra lines on orders," said Macintyre. "We can offer Leaf an ideal opportunity to market the brand."