Courtaulds said the closures would cost about £52m this year and were prompted by difficult trading conditions and falling exports to the Far East, which was becoming increasingly self-sufficient.
As a result it was accelerating its plant closures in Europe and would also integrate the aerospace sealants business with its coatings arm. The changes will reduce the number of coatings factories by a third to 12. Most of the job losses will be in Continental Europe although about 100 could be lost in Britain.
The group is expanding in other sectors. It is building a second factory to produce Tencel, a synthetic fibre, at a cost of £90m, to meet growing demand in the US and Japan. The plant will more than double production capacity. Separately, it is also setting up four plants in the Far East.