SOUTH Albury's Apex tool factory is shutting with 50 workers to lose their jobs at the business which began in 1971 as Cooper Tools.
Company chiefs travelled from Sydney on Friday to tell employees that the Nurigoing Street plant which has made Lufkin measuring tapes and soldering irons, pliers and screwdrivers would be closing.
Managing director Tim Ohlback said a changing trading outlook had prompted the move.
"This was a difficult announcement, and is not a reflection on the dedicated and hardworking employees at the Albury plant," Mr Ohlback said.
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"The Australian business climate has changed dramatically over recent years and even more so with recent events this year.
"We have made hard evolutionary decisions now to ensure our long-term vision and accelerated business growth objectives are exceeded as we continue to leverage our global strengths and capabilities."
In a letter to business partners, Mr Ohlback wrote the closure was planned to be completed by next March with the US-owned company to import tools into Australia and operate out of Sydney.
He added staff would be given help to find new jobs.
Australian Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah said it was sad news but he hoped the highly skilled employees would be able to find work at other factories.
"That's 50 families now that will be really under the pump financially and we know with the jobless rate being so high you've really got to feel for those people," Mr Farrah said.
He said the move to import tools highlighted the high cost of manufacturing in Australia, particularly energy expenses.
Cooper Tools opened in Albury in 1971 and employed up to 150 people at different stages.
In that guise it was well known for its community largesse, sponsoring the Albury Gold Cup, Albury football club and the Border Bandits basketball club.
The company changed names to Apex Tool Group in 2010 as part of its parent company entering a new joint venture with Danaher Corporation.