Board and card game manufacturer Cartamundi has announced that it is to close its Waterford city operation, which currently employs 234 people.

The factory on Waterford's Cork Road has been manufacturing games since 1977 and previously dealt under the Hasbro and MB names.

Management have blamed a post-Covid decline in demand for board games for its decision.

The closure will be phased over a number of months until next August.

Belgian-based Cartamundi took over Hasbro in 2015 and among the board games made by the company are Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Cluedo and Connect4. The factory started in 1977 under the MB name and was bought by Hasbro in 1984. At its peak it employed up to 400 people at seasonally-busy times of the year.

Last year the company warned of risks to its business.

Following two years of increased demand for board games during the pandemic, there was then a surplus of products on the market while other factors including the war in Ukraine and rising energy and other costs led to reduced demand in the European and American markets.

The imminent closure was announced to employees in Waterford today by David Germis, President of Cartamundi Solutions Division and Barry Morrissey, Managing Director, Cartamundi Ireland.

The company said they will now begin consultations with employees, their representatives and state agencies.

David Germis said: "It is particularly regrettable that we plan to close our Waterford facility. It has been a source of reliable quality production and we wish to thank the management and employees for their dedication and continued application in ensuring the continuous supply of products to our customers, particularly in the recent difficult times. The factory in Waterford has been suffering losses for many months now and this is not sustainable."

Barry Morrissey said: "This is a very sad day for Cartamundi Ireland. We are very proud of the quality of the work and the legacy of the plant and its people in Waterford and appreciate the efforts of everyone at the plant. Our immediate concern is the welfare of our employees. We would like to thank all our employees for their ongoing commitment, in particular during the uncertainty of recent months, and we thank IDA Ireland, the Irish Government, the local community, suppliers and customers for their support."