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WEPA to double production and create new jobs
The Welsh Government is providing £6m of funding to support WEPA UK’s expansion plans, which will see 54 new jobs created and hundreds protected at its site in Maesteg.
Ken Skates, economy minister, said the funding from its Economy Futures Fund will be crucial in seeing the firm’s site developed into a fully integrated papermill, doubling production capacity.
A new paper machine will enable the company, which is one of the leading suppliers of household hygiene paper in the UK, to produce an additional 65,000 tons a year of toilet paper and kitchen towels for the British market.
Tony Curtis, joint managing director of WEPA UK, said: “During such unprecedented times as these, this is a fantastic development for our UK business, particularly for the local community in which we operate, our UK-wide customers and our employees who can now plan for the future with increased confidence.
“This investment provides state-of-the-art additional production capacity with an important quality upgrade to our product offering; it will also drive our site operations to the leading edge of sustainability in our industry.
“The project offers employment protection for our existing workforce of over 270 Bridgend employees and also creates more than 50 additional jobs at the site. WEPA has also engaged a local principal contractor based in South Wales for project construction.”
The announcement follows the Welsh Government’s recently launched Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission which sets out how it will work to rebuild Wales’ post-Covid economy so that it values and prioritises wellbeing, drives prosperity and is environmentally sound.
Ken Skates, economy minister, added: “WEPA is a vitally important employer in the region, and the £6m the Welsh Government is investing will be crucial in supporting the local economy at what continues to be an incredibly difficult time. I am delighted that our investment will help the business create good-quality jobs as the volume and variety of products produced by the business increases.
“This week, I launched our Economic Reconstruction and Resilience Mission which sets out how we will rebuild and reconstruct the Welsh economy post-pandemic. We are clear that supporting businesses like WEPA to innovate and make maximum use of cutting edge technology will be key to Wales’ future economic success.”
Martin Krengel, chief executive officer of the WEPA Group, concluded: “Our willingness to invest in state-of-the-art technology is an important part of our future-oriented group strategy. The UK remains an important growth market for us in Europe despite Covid-19 and Brexit. With the planned investments we will be able to meet our customers’ expectations in terms of product quality and sustainability even better in the future. It is important to us to produce for our customers in the UK in their own country.”