French lingerie firm Lejaby is to close three of its manufacturing plants in France with the loss of 197 jobs, as it seeks to relocate more production abroad in order to cut costs.

"30% of our production volume continues to be carried out in France whereas for our competitors the percentage is 5% maximum. As a result, our products are two to three times the market price," explained Lejaby's president, Raymond Mahé.

Lejaby, which has a global workforce of 653 staff, will close its plants at Bourg-en-Bresse, Bellegarde-sur-Valserine and Le Teil, located in the south of the country.

The aim is to reduce production in France to between 7% and 10% of the company's total output.

Founded in 1930, Lejaby was sold in 2008 by US group Warnaco to Austria's Palmers Textil AG, in a deal which valued the business at a total of EUR45m.

Its turnover has declined by more than 23% in the past two years.