More than 250 jobs will be lost when hi-tech firm Alcatel-Lucent closes its Swindon office the end of next year.

The French global telecommunications equipment company said yesterday the site, at Stonehill Green, is to be closed as part of a restructuring programme following several years of financial difficulties. It refused to confirm the number of jobs to be lost but the Swindon Advertiser understands it will be 255.

It owns three sites along the M4 at Maidenhead and Newport as well as Swindon which are all going to close to be replaced by a single office in Bristol.

While many at these locations will be offered a job in Bristol, Swindon will be the hardest hit as the company is slimming down its Wireless Division, which is based here.

UK communciations director Jenny Cropper said: “We will be closing our Swindon office by the end of next year and part of a company-wide restructuring plan.

“One of the things we are looking to do is reduce the size of our real estate in the UK. We own three sites along the M4 and the fact is they are much bigger than we need.

“We looked at consolidating everything or moving to a new site. These discussions were not easy and after making a strong business case we took the decision to move to Bristol.

“There will be around 300 job losses across the country but Swindon will be most heavily impacted because of the loss of the big wireless division.”

Alcatel-Lucent has been in Swindon for almost 20 years but has had financial difficulties for a number of years. Last year a global restructuring plan was announced which has meant thousands of jobs being lost across the globe.

“There have been financial difficulties. Last year the CEO Michel Coombes decided there needed to be a full restructure of our operations and we are now nine months into that plan,” said Jenny.

“It was announced there would be 10,000 jobs going in total and unfortunately the UK is impacted by that.”

The company provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users.

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Briggs was shocked to hear the news.

He said: “They are members of our chamber and we would be very happy to work with them to see if staff could be deployed to any of their other factories in the UK.”

The company is a partner of the new University Technical College, set to open in Swindon in September, and has been working with Oxford Brookes University to help develop its curriculum.