Coca-Cola Enterprises’ (CCE’s) planned £13M bottle production line at its Wakefield facility could help Yorkshire attract global investment and boost the UK economy, according to prime minister David Cameron.
The new line will be dedicated to making Coca-Cola’s bottle, using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in a range of sizes and at speeds of up to 40,000 an hour.
Cameron said: “This further boost to CCE’s Wakefield plant – the largest of its kind in Europe – shows the huge potential that Yorkshire has to attract global investment and is a big vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan.
'Secure a better future’
“By continuing to invest in infrastructure, back business and attract investment, we will secure a better future for hardworking people in Wakefield, Yorkshire and right across Britain.”
The new production line is being installed as part of CCE’s plans to invest more than £1M a week in its British operations this year. With this £52M injection, CCE has invested a total of £227M in its operations since 2011.
The firm will also install a combined heat and power system at the Wakefield factory, which CCE claimed would cut 1,500t of greenhouse gas emissions a year, a 5.6% reduction for the site.
Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne said the investment was a vote of confidence in the UK and its economic plan.
“It is good news that the investment is bolstering the recovery here in the North of England, in Wakefield,” he added. “It shows the potential that exists to create the northern powerhouse that I’m talking about today.”
John Brock, chairman and ceo of CCE, said he was proud that 97% of CCE’s products sold in Great Britain were made at the firm’s six UK factories.
“We have invested £100M in Wakefield, our largest manufacturing facility, since the prime minister last visited us in 2010, boosting its manufacturing capabilities with the most innovative and efficient technologies available,” he said.
These investments are a “critical part” of the firm’s strategy to continue to grow sustainably and make a positive contribution to the British economy, he added.
CCE has invested more than £500M in its UK sites in the past five years, it claimed.
It has invested £3.5M at its Morpeth facility in new production equipment to make the Glacéau Smartwater bottled water brand; £16.5M in a high-speed canning line at its Sidcup site and £2.2M at its East Kilbride facility.