Irish food company Greencore Group is closing its Irish sugar processing business following changes to the European Union sugar regime.

Greencore said that its sugar factory at Mallow would close in May. Reports suggest that as many as 324 jobs could be lost as a result.

David Dilger, chief executive of Greencore, said: “Greencore will not process sugar again. The board regrets that it had no alternative but to take this course of action.”

He added: “Since the EU sugar regime change was announced we have worked really hard with our staff and our growers in a determined effort to have one last campaign. However, the regime change has turned an efficient, profitable operation with dedicated employees into a loss making business with no viable future.”

Greencore said that it has enough stock to service its Irish industrial sugar and retail customers until November this year and was putting plans in place to supply these customers after November.