A MULTI-MILLION-POUND investment in a new North East facility by one of the world’s largest paint companies will create jobs and could lead to further expansion in the future.
International Paint, the largest private-sector employer in Gateshead, is to invest £6.4m in a new testing laboratory for its fire protection products at its Felling site.
The new facility, due to be completed next year, will create 14 jobs, and secure a further 30 at the site.
International is a world leader in the supply of fire protection coatings, used to protect steel structures such as buildings and oil and gas installations. It is a market which is growing rapidly due to increasingly stringent fire protection regulations worldwide.
Dipak Mistry, technical manager for International’s Protective Coatings Business, said: “The new facility will significantly improve our ability to develop and bring new products to market.
“The new laboratory will give us a state-of-the-art centre of excellence for fire protection development here in the North East.”
A company spokesman went on to say that International Paints is optimistic that the investment will create additional jobs in the future.
International Paint is the world’s biggest producer of protective coatings for major structures, with its products being used on a number of iconic landmarks, including the Sage Gateshead, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the London Eye, the Beijing Olympic Aqua Cube and seven stadiums being used for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
It is also a leader in coatings used in ship and yacht building, maintenance and repair, with its coatings featuring on many famous vessels including the HMS Ark Royal and the Queen Mary 2.
Robert Taylor, managing director of International Paint, said: “This significant investment in fire protection in the current economic climate is an indication of our commitment to research and technology, which we see as key to our future success in the protective coatings business.”
The project also received a grant of £249,000 from regional development agency One North East.
ONE’s director of business and industry, Ian Williams, said: “International Paint operates at the cutting edge of its industry so I am delighted that One North East has been able to support a project that will help it to continue to develop world-leading products at its Felling plant.”
International Paint employs 5,700 people worldwide, including more than 900 at the Felling site.
The company is part of AkzoNobel, the world’s largest paints and coatings company and producer of the famous Dulux brand.