AkzoNobel has announced plans to build a world class, hi-tech manufacturing facility in the northeast of England, reinforcing its strategic commitment to accelerated and sustainable growth.
Around €110 million is earmarked for the custom-built Decorative Paints site, designed to enable the company to deliver the most efficient supply chain operations, reduce operating working capital and accelerate its response to changing market and customer demands. The planned new facility is within 25 miles of AkzoNobel's existing site in Prudhoe, and is anticipated to be operational by the end of 2014.
The plans include a proposal to close the company's Prudhoe site and its manufacturing operations in Slough in three-and-a-half years' time. They will now be put forward to employees for consultation. Production would be maintained at the required levels prior to operations being transferred. The intention is for Slough to remain the headquarters for the UK Decorative Paints business and for global research and development, and marketing.
"This shows that we will continue to invest in order to drive world class manufacturing capability, while enhancing customer service levels and ensuring we remain the world's leading decorative paints business with well-known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens and Coral," explained Tex Gunning, AkzoNobel's Executive Committee member responsible for Decorative Paints.
Added Richard Stuckes, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints EMEA: "This is part of a wide-ranging European strategy designed to strengthen our leadership positions and accelerate sustainable growth. A new facility of this size and sophistication will enable us to be more agile and competitive, while dramatically reducing our impact on the environment, due to lower energy consumption and less waste."
Incorporating a range of innovative technologies, which for example will recycle and reuse waste and water, the facility would consume 60 percent less energy compared with today's operations. Continued Stuckes: "Before making any final decision on the proposal, we will now enter into a period of consultation with our employees. If the project goes ahead, there would be relocation possibilities for those with the desired skill-set who wish to transfer to the new site."
AkzoNobel currently employs 4,050 people in the UK across all its business, with revenue for 2010 totaling €798 million. Within Decorative Paints, 89 people are employed at the Prudhoe site and 131 are employed in the Slough manufacturing unit.