County Durham food packing specialist Faerch Plast is set to grow its workforce by 50% after investing in machinery to boost its production capacity.
The Denmark-based company established its base in Dragonville, Durham, in 2012 having acquired the site when another firm ceased its North East operation to move production to Holland.
Since then the business has grown significantly, more than doubling turnover from £5.2m in 2012 to £13.7m in 2013, and posting a huge pre-tax profit rise from £21,000 to £686,000 over the same period.
The business now plans to double its production capacity and swell its ranks from 60 to 90, following the planned installation of new machinery an additional production line, to help meet rising demands for its ready meal trays used for cold foods and snacks, including bakery, dairy, vegetables and cold meats.
As part of the investment, the company said it will install a range of additional associated production equipment such as cutting-edge robot packing systems, cooling machines and compressors. The plant will also benefit from a 2,000sqm extension to boost stockholding capacity.
Joe Lannidinardo, managing director at Faerch Plast UK said: “The investment also enables us to efficiently service our UK customers with an enhanced portfolio of products in a facility built to the highest standards of quality and efficiency. We remain dedicated to investing in our customers’ futures and to growing our business.”
Faerch Plast has also acquired a plot adjacent to the factory, and as a consequence now has 30,000sqm of industrial site it can use in Durham, allowing for the possibility of further expansion as demand increases.
Faerch Plast initially bought the building in November 2011, within days of its former owner, Dutch vending machine cup maker Veriplast, shutting its operation at the site with the loss of 60 jobs, following a period of declining sales.
At the time Faerch Plast invested a “significant amount” on fitting out the plant on the Dragonville Industrial Estate to make plastic trays for the food industry, with machines capable of turning plastic into thousands of trays every hour.
Accounts for the year ended December 2013 show the firm spent £2.7m on plant and equipment during the period.
Lars Gade Hansen, chief executive office at Faerch Plast Group added: “This on-going investment in Durham emphasises our commitment to local customers and further increases supply chain security for our wide range of food containers. This also underlines the commitment of our new owners, EQT, to continue investing in Faerch Plast’s growth.
“It marks a very important time in our business strategy and will help accelerate our expansion in the UK.”