REGARDING the article on the planned closure of the 3M plant at Northallerton (Echo June 23).

3M bought this business from E. Wood Ltd in 2007/8.

They state “despite our very best efforts, the business has been falling significantly short of expectations”.

The E. Wood Ltd company they took over was over 125 years old, starting in the east end of London manufacturing marine paints and varnishes, moving to Hertfordshire due to being bombed out during the war and relocating to Northallerton in the early 1980s.

At that time the company was turning over around £1m with around 30 employees.

The company grew significantly over the following 25 years with global brands Copon and Thortex selling around the world for the protection against corrosion of all steel and concrete structures.

The Copon brand was a leading brand internationally in the pipeline sectors and a Queens Award for Innovation was achieved just prior to the 3M takeover, at which time the company was a £26m turnover profitable company employing around 150 people.

Certainly a major employer for the Northallerton area.

Following the 3M takeover one of the first actions was to abandon the well-known Copon and Thortex brands and rebrand them 3M Scotchkote. In my opinion a stupid decision.

Highly qualified technicians, marketing and sales personnel were ignored and the 3M stamp was set on the whole business.

I have just recently retired after 53 years in the anti-corrosion and surface coatings industry, the best 15 by far was the time I spent as an independent technical consultant / sales agent with Copon E. Wood Ltd working with some incredible people in a company dedicated to quality and customer service.

I moved on after the 3M takeover and worked with another well-established British coatings manufacturer and told the MD if he ever sold out to an American company that would be the day I retired. He did, so I did. I sincerely hope history doesn’t repeat itself here.

The closure of the Northallerton plant does not come as a surprise to anyone associated with the coatings industry and it is sad to see so many years of British history being dissolved in yet another distant corporate decision.

Ray Sams, Darlington