GLOBAL firm IBM is closing its last base in Inverclyde and bringing an end to its 70 year link with the district.

The Greenock Telegraph revealed that bosses have taken the decision to shut their last offices at the Pottery Street business park and move all 170 jobs to Glasgow.

It is the latest bitter blow to the area's economy, only weeks after Amazon's exit.

IBM, which came to Inverclyde in the 1950s, will move out of its premises in a month's time.

The company's sprawling plant at Spango Valley on the A78 corridor enjoyed decades of growth.

It employed over 5000 people on site at its peak but supported thousands more posts across Inverclyde.

But as the global giants gradually switched operations elsewhere the workforce steadily reduced and the firm began demolishing Spango buildings around 2008-09, with a property firm moving in and attempting to market the site.

It is now earmarked for a major housing development.

IBM had moved the last remaining staff working at the landmark site to the new Pottery Street offices 10 years ago. Now that final link with the area is to be severed, marking the end of an era.

An IBM spokesman said: "Following a review of IBM’s real estate footprint, and in recognition of changing working patterns, the company’s Greenock office will close next month due to an expiring lease. 

"Employees will be relocated to new offices in Glasgow.

"IBM has a proud history in Inverclyde and for more than 70 years the Greenock location has made a significant contribution to the company's success."

Council leader Stephen McCabe says the closure is a bodyblow, but he hopes new tenants can be attracted to the site becoming vacant.

McCabe said: "It is a significant loss in terms of the long history that IBM has with Inverclyde which is now coming to an end.

"I am not sure that there was much the council or anyone could do when they had made the decision. But we will continue to work with all businesss to support the local economy.

"At a recent Inverclyde Taskforce we were told there is not enough suitable office space, so maybe this will be an opportunity for another business to come in."

The council leader believes the pandemic helped put paid to IBM's presence locally.

He said: "I think this is a legacy of Covid and the changes it brought about to the workforce - more people are working from home and we see that even within the council."

IBM first came to Greenock in the early 1950s and pioneered the 'Silicon Glen' revolution, bringing prosperity to the area as the first personal computer was built.

Secretary of state for Scotland William Ross officially opened a £350,000 extension to IBM’s Spango Valley plant on October 9, 1967 and it grew substantially over the next three decades.

During the late 1990s numbers started to drop as production moved elsewhere and by 2013 IBM had left the site completely.