The Scotch whisky group Whyte & Mackay yesterday announced it plans to close its Edinburgh bottling plant while making its existing Grangemouth site the home of its new £20m state-of-the-art bottling plant.

Grangemouth will consolidate Whyte and Mackay's existing operations in Leith and Grangemouth and follows a restructuring announcement made at the end of July.

The consolidation will result in the loss of more than 200 jobs.

Vivian Imerman, chief executive and chairman at Whyte and Mackay Ltd, said: "There were a number of social and economic factors that we had to consider in reaching the decision to locate the new plant in Grangemouth, including the long-term sustainability of our investment and the relative land values of the sites. Grangemouth is a central location with excellent transport links, whilst we had some concerns over long-term accessibility and the transport infrastructure at Leith."

Whyte & Mackay also raised the prospect of the company maoving its white spirit production overseas, with potential for further job losses.

A statement said: "In the highly competitive market of white spirit, where production in Scotland carries no premium, Whyte and Mackay Ltd is currently looking at the options for outsourcing which could include Europe. The final decision on this will depend on the outcome of discussions with the Scottish Executive as to what grant assistance can be provided for this side of the business."

Vivian Imerman added: "We will do everything in our power to help find new employment opportunities for those who regrettably are affected. The overall redundancy figures within the company will remain well within the headcount reduction from 700 to 500 employees already announced. "The creation of the new bottling plant together with the £50m investment behind our core brands - Whyte and Mackay, Vladivar, Isle of Jura, The Dalmore and Glayva - will put the company back on a growth path positioning it for long-term success with the ability to focus on meeting the needs of our customers and consumers."

The new bottling plant will be operational in around two years.