More than 100 years of making soap in Kristiansund were washed down the drain on Tuesday, when the board of the Lilleborg cleaning products unit of industrial firm Orkla decided to shut down its Ello factory in the city on Norway’s northwest coast.
Around 60 people will lose their jobs when production of Ello’s soap brands such as Lano and Dr Greve will be moved to another factory at Falun in Sweden. State broadcaster NRK reported that employees reacted with tears and despair.
“We think it’s incredibly sad,” employees’ representative Unni Garberg told NRK. Local investors tried to help keep the plant open, offering to buy Ello’s building and then rent it back out to Lilleborg, which is wholly owned by Norwegian industrial concern Orkla. But the offer apparently wasn’t good enough to stop Orkla’s production relocation plans.
Local and state politicians had also tried to stop the factory closure in a city already hit hard by the downturn in the oil and offshore industry. Kristiansund Mayor Kjell Neergaard was disappointed.
“This is an historic company that means a lot for us, and I am also extremely sad that the board has made this decision,” Neergaard told NRK.