Plastics firm in £90m expansion

The Victrex plant at Hillhouse,Thornton.
The Victrex plant at Hillhouse,Thornton.
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A FYLDE coast-based plastics maker is set to buck the downturn trend afflicting manufacturing firms by unveiling a massive new investment.

Victrex Polymer Solutions is to begin work on a third plant making its PAEK polyaryletherketone products at its Hillhouse site in Thornton.

The international company said the investment would increase annual capacity by 70 percent, from 4,250 tonnes to more than 7,000 tonnes and would create up to 30 new jobs.

The extra 2,900 tonnes is likely to come on stream in 2015 and the company hopes that this will secure continuity of supply for its customers at a time when many plastics manufacturers are struggling to meet demand.

The company said in a statement: “The total capital cost, including all related utility systems and infrastructure, is expected to be £90m which will be funded out of operating cash flow.”

Tim Cooper, managing director at Victrex said “Offering a consistent reliable supply of high quality PAEK products ready for shipment to meet our existing and new customers’ needs both today and in the future is an integral part of our strategy and focus.”

Kenny Gilmore, infrastructure director said: “This is great news. We export almost all of what we manufacture at Hillhouse.

We employ around 300 people there and this new investment will create around 30 jobs over the next three years.”

Victrex aims to grow its share in key market segments where PAEK is used in a wide range of applications.

These include uses in the automotive and aerospace industries where the company’s lightweight, strong and versatile products are used.

The company has also moved into extruded lightweight pipes for the oil and gas industry where they are resistant to high pressure, temperature and corrosion.

In a trading update the group said the positive trend in sales had continued in its second half, with volume seven per cent ahead of the same period last year at 1,527 tonnes.

Full year volume increased to a new record of 2,904 tonnes.

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