Automotive group revealed as name behind planned £70m manufacturing facility

SPANISH automotive supplier Gestamp has been revealed as the name behind plans for a new £70m manufacturing facility close to the border of Staffordshire and Wolverhampton.

Commercial warehouse investor Tritax Big Box said last month that it had exchanged contracts, conditional on detailed planning consent, on the 550,000 sq ft development, set for a site in Four Ashes.

The new plant will host stamping equipment and is designed to safeguard the 800 jobs at Gestamp’s current plant in nearby Cannock by progressively moving production to the new facility.

Gestamp said the goal was to create a more efficient and competitive operation which offered the best service to customers including BMW, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover (whose Engine Manufacturing Centre is just a few miles away at i54), Nissan-Renault and Toyota.

Plans are for production to start before the end of 2017.

Ian Middleton, Gestamp’s UK manager, said: “We have been working on this project for a long time. The UK is one of Gestamp’s top five global markets since the beginning of our operations here in 2011.

“Our company is committed to helping our customers in key aspects such as quality, safety and lightweight innovations, therefore Gestamp wants its facilities to utilise the most modern stamping technologies available to fulfil its objectives.”

Gestamp has already invested more than £180m in its UK plants since 2011 including over £30m in the existing Cannock facility. Once completed, the annual turnover of the new West Midlands plant will surpass £140m per year. Part of the existing facilities in Cannock may be retained to accommodate future training and development requirements.

In addition to Cannock, Gestamp (named Gestamp Tallent in the UK due to the acquisition of Tallent in 2011) comprises five other production plants in the UK – Newcastle, Washington, Aycliffe, Llanelli and Fareham. Its total UK workforce amounts to 3,600, including agency staff.

The new plant has been supported by Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire LEP, Staffordshire County Council, Cannock Chase District Council and the Department for International Trade in the form of the Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO).

The various partners said the decision to expand on a new site in Staffordshire demonstrated strong investor confidence in the county (see video below).

The site has benefited from the construction by the county council of a new access off the A449, a £2m project funded through the LEP’s Local Growth Fund.

Cllr Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “Gestamp’s expansion in Staffordshire is great news for the county economy and for the country. This is a major decision by a Spanish company and is a demonstration of investor confidence in the UK and in particular Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

“This will lead to local job creation and retention as Gestamp is a thriving company in one of our key economic sectors.

LEP chairman David Frost said: “This announcement is the culmination of months of hard work by the local Gestamp management and ourselves to identify the right location for Gestamp to expand, retaining this important business in the Staffordshire area, facilitating the move and ensuring that local jobs are safeguarded.”
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