Tobacco giant Philip Morris said on Friday it wants to close its factory in the Netherlands later this year at the cost of 1,230 jobs, blaming a "severe decline" in sales.

?Today?s very difficult announcement has been subject to deep reflections and thorough evaluation of all available options," Philip Morris said.

The statement referred to the proposed closure of the factory at Bergen op Zoom, its biggest in terms of production capacity.

The company, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, said its sales had dropped by 20 percent in the last four years, blaming the financial crisis, people smoking cheaper products such as rolling tobacco and cigarette smuggling.

Most cigarettes made at Bergen op Zoom are made for export to European and Japanese markets, the company said on its website.