Work is beginning on a multi-million pound machinery upgrade of a local firm.
Competitiveness of the carbon fibre manufacturing site at Muir of Ord, Easter Ross, will be further improved and 16 new jobs created at SGL Carbon Fibers Ltd with an investment of up to £7 million pounds over the next three years.
Burkhard Straube, business unit chairman from SGL and Alex Paterson, chief executive of economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) were on site to cut the first turf to start the project.
SGL Carbon Fibers Ltd is the only carbon fibre producer in the UK and a major employer in the Highlands. Its products are used where very strong light weight material is crucial, such as in the automotive, aerospace and wind energy industries.
HIE has approved £1.4m towards helping the firm improve its buildings, plant and equipment over the next two to three years. The remainder of the cost will be met by inward investment from the firm’s Germany based parent group, SGL Carbon SE.
The move will allow SGL to compete in new global markets including growing demand for new carbon fibre based composites used for products such as compressed natural gas tanks for vehicles.
The company’s expansion will create an estimated 16 new FTE quality jobs and strengthen the security of the existing 200 posts.
The company’s turnover is expected to increase significantly during the next years; 80% of which will be from export sales. This underlines SGL’s status as a major contributor to the Highlands and Islands economy.
Alex Paterson, HIE’s chief executive, said: “SGL is an excellent example of a Highland based business with ambitions to grow and service new global markets; something we are very keen to support. Moves like this help create jobs, attract new people to the area and encourage inward investment. This particular project will bring significant investment into the region from SGL’s parent company, creating several well paid jobs and strengthening the security of the existing workforce.”