Water heating product manufacturer Heatrae Sadia has announced that it plans to close its Norwich factory as part of a wider business restructure.

In a statement, parent company Baxi Heating said that the company was proposing to transfer the production of water cylinders and electric water heaters for its Heatrae Sadia and Megaflo brands, from its smaller Norwich site, to Preston.

The company confirmed that the proposals, if implemented following consultation, could result in significant job losses, with 204 jobs at risk. The proposed closure of the Norwich site would also result in the consolidation of R&D activity at Preston and the transfer of other support activities to other Baxi Heating UK locations.

Baxi Heating said the restructuring would result in "significant investment" in its Preston facilities, resulting in an overall increase in employment at that site.

The changes form part of a wider business restructure, with the company also announcing plans to simplify its sales organisation.

A Baxi Heating spokesperson commented: "Feedback from our customers suggests that they want to do business with suppliers that offer combinations of different products and brands, but with fewer points of contact.

"We want to reflect this and anticipate future changes in customer preferences and market needs, by consolidating our sales organisations into two areas of focus, namely residential and commercial. 

"As a result, the Heatrae Sadia sales force, currently reporting into Norwich, will be integrated into the existing Residential and Commercial teams that report into Warwick and Wokingham respectively. These changes will be effective from February 2019.

"We recognise that these actions will have significant implications for our colleagues in Norwich and Preston. However, we firmly believe that they are necessary to make the company stronger and to place it in the best position to face the future challenges and opportunities in the UK’s heating industry."