MANAGEMENT at Paisley's longest-running manufacturing plant have informed staff it is to close with the loss of more than 140 jobs.

Workers were given the grim news at a meeting at the BASF chemical factory in Hawkhead Road.

The announcement was confirmed as Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney said the Scottish Government will be meeting with the firm as "a matter of urgency."

The confirmation came within hours of the announcement of more than 800 jobs being axed by chemical firm Ineos at Grangemouth.

The Evening Times can reveal BASF and Ineos are linked via a separate joint venture.The two operations set up a 50-50 joint venture called Styrolution in 2011. It is based in Frankfurt and employes 3200 people world-wide.

BASF said the timing of both announcements was "pure coincidence."

The closure comes after years of cut-backs at the site, which has been operating under a range of owners for more than 60 years.

In 2008 more than 566 people worked at the plant, now the remaining 141 workers will see their jobs go when it closes by the end of 2015.

Bosses yesterday broke their silence on the plans after days of speculation.

In a statement, the company said: "On October 22, BASF informed employees about its intention to close its pigment plant in Paisley, Scotland, by the second half of 2015. The proposed closure will affect 141 employees currently working at the BASF Performance Products site.

"Consultations with trade union and employee representatives will begin this week. The Paisley site manufactures Azo pigments. The global market for these pigments is shrinking. Increasing manufacturing capacities and the entry of new competitors have changed the business environment significantly."

The company said a large part of Paisley's products are used for printing publications and the once high-volume printing industry is shrinking as new technologies reduce demand for pigments. The firm is adapting its business to these changed market conditions by restructuring measures, it said, including consolidating production at "cost-competitive" sites.

It will stop producing Azo pigments for the printing industry and focus on innovative products, mainly for the plastics industry.

The firm's statement added: "The Paisley site, which BASF acquired in 2009, is not cost competitive. Restructuring programmes over the last three years have succeeded in reducing fixed costs, but the rapidly changing market situation resulted in unsustainable manufacturing cost at the site.

"Azo pigments are insoluble colorants which can be produced via water-based chemistry. They are used in small quantities in printing inks, household plastic articles, carpets and technical fabrics, wood and architectural coatings and automotive coatings."

The factory is one of the longest-established manufacturing plants in Paisley at just over 60 years old.

It started off as Ciba-Geigy, then becoming Ciba Speciality chemicals before being taken over by BASF and renamed BASF Performance Products plc.

Its pigments are used to colour inks, paints, paper and plastics.