Hundreds of workers at loss-making ready-to-wear manufacturer Mura are to lose their jobs by the end of this year as the company continues its restructuring programme.

The firm, which has already laid off 180 staff in the first five months of this year, is planning to make 600 of its 4,573 strong workforce redundant over the next six months.

Mura's restructuring programme is due to be completed by 2006 and will focus on a reduction in capacity, an increase in productivity, rising sales of its own brands and expansion into new markets.

On Monday, the Slovenian Government approved a 10 million euro loan to Mura, including the first instalment of 2.5 million euros. The second instalment is due in autumn 2003, and the third in January 2004.