UK-headquartered Essentra, which changed its name from Filtrona in June this year, bought the €15.2m-turnover business as part of a targeted growth strategy in the pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging market.

The deal follows the FTSE 250 firm’s £160m acquisition in March of Contego Healthcare, now Essentra Packaging.

Dakota, which employs around 100 staff at its 7,430sqm manufacturing plant near Dublin airport, will become part of Essentra’s packaging and securing solutions division. The site produces high quality cartons for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries in Ireland.

“The acquisition of Dakota underscores our ambition to be the premier provider of creative and secure packaging solutions to our customers and end-markets of choice,” said managing director of Essentra’s packaging and securing solutions division, Alison Evans.

“Our plans represent a significant investment in our capabilities in Ireland and will ensure we have the best operational footprint and necessary space to meet the growing needs of the healthcare and consumer packaging industries we serve, under our new Essentra Packaging identity.”

The acquisition forms part of a restructure of Essentra’s Ireland operations, which looks likely to effect the closure of the firm’s facility in Waterford, 160km south of Dublin, with the loss of all 50 jobs.

Evans confirmed that Essentra had yesterday entered into a 30-day consultation with employees at the plant. The company intends to centralise production in Ireland to the Dakota site.

Evans said: “It is with regret that we are entering a consultation regarding the possible closure of the Waterford site. It is in no way a reflection on the quality or commitment of our employees, but a consequence of the need to ensure we act in the best interests of our customers and other stakeholders.”

Trade union Unite labeled the move “industrial vandalism”.

Speaking following a meeting of Unite members in Essentra, union official Brendan Byrne said that the proposal to close the Waterford site had come as a bombshell to workers, their families and the wider local community.

“Unite is convinced that a programme of targeted investment in the plant could transform the Waterford operation into a trail blazer in the packaging sector, and we will be putting forward argument in this regard during the consultation period,” he added.

“Closure of the Waterford Essentra plant would be nothing less than an act of industrial vandalism.”

Essentra, headquartered in Milton Keynes, operates 42 manufacturing facilities around the world and employs around 5,500 staff globally.