Manufacturer wins £2.5m contracts after upgrade investment

Weidmann Whiteley, Otley. L-r Emma Barnes - Operations Manager, Bill Wallace - Operations Director and John Briggs - Managing Director. 20.06.17

Paper manufacturer Weidmann Whiteley has secured a major contract following a £275,000 investment in machinery.

The paper mill, which is based in Pool-in-Wharfedale, is part of to Swiss-owned Wicor group. It says it is one of only a handful of paper mills in the UK which can produce specialised paperboard for insulation in high power electrical transformers.

The company has undertaken a £275,000 investment to upgrade its machinery, and has now won a £2.5m contract off the back of that, creating four new jobs in the process. It now employs 121.

The investment was supported by Leeds City Council and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Service. A grant of £27,500 was awarded through the LEP’s Business Growth Programme.

Its heavy duty paper presses have been adapted by adding new steam processes, high pressure rollers and drying cylinders to speed up production, increase capacity and produce a more uniform end product. The new presses are also able to produce other specialist goods, such as abrasives used in the automotive industry.

Weidmann Whiteley managing director John Briggs said: “The North America contract is great news for the business and we’re on target for £18 million turnover this year. Longer term we’re aiming to develop sales in the high value and higher margin abrasives market, particularly in Germany, where there is strong demand from automotive manufacturers.”

Leader of Leeds City Council and chairperson of the LEP’s investment panel, Councillor Judith Blake said: “I’m delighted we have been able to help support this investment and secure the company’s future in here Leeds. In these uncertain times for the UK and for the economy it’s vital that we help companies invest in developing new markets and new products, particularly for export, and in developing the skills of future generations.”

Roger Marsh OBE, chairperson of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:
“It is great to see businesses benefitting from the wealth of support available through the LEP Growth Service. Supporting growing companies is at the heart of the LEP’s ambitions for a thriving Leeds City Region and we have a comprehensive package of support available to help achieve their growth potential.”

Paper has been manufactured at the site in Pool-in-Wharfedale for more than 200 years. Pool Paper Mills, as it was then known, was acquired by the Whiteley family in 1919 and became part of the Weidmann International Corporation (Wicor Holding AG) in 1981.

Pictured: Emma Barnes, operations manager; Bill Wallace, operations director and John Briggs, managing director.