A chocolate company has officially taken over the former Philips Avent factory in Suffolk – creating 220 jobs and bringing the saga about its future to an end.
GCB Cocoa, a Malaysian-owned chocolate company, has officially taken ownership of the former Glemsford baby bottle factory and pledged to invest £62.2million in the plant.
According to GCB’s business plan, 220 jobs will be created in the initial phases of the takeover, with up to 150 jobs by 2022.
The former Philips Avent site had been in operation for 84 years. Its closure in July, with the loss of around 425 jobs, left concerns over a lack of employment in the area.
James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, led a taskforce seeking an industrial future for the site after developing the site for housing was mooted.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted that GCB Cocoa have purchased the site, and I was pleased to hear about their ambition for the plant. In particular, it was very interesting to hear directly from the company’s most senior Directors via Zoom in Malaysia.
“We learned that their business plan will amount to a total £62.2m investment in the plant, creating up to 220 jobs over its initial phases, with up to 150 jobs by 2022. Of course, there will be some lag before positions start to be advertised given the inevitable time needed to construct and install new machinery, systems and processes.
“Nevertheless, this represents a very significant investment in South Suffolk and it was a particular delight to sample some of the company’s chocolate products.
“By working with local, regional and national stakeholders I hope to assist the company in delivering its very positive plans so that we maximise the benefit to the local economy.
“We have worked hard with partners including the New Anglia LEP and the Department for International Trade to ensure that the Glemsford site remained an employment location.”
A spokesman for GCB Cooca said: “The acquisition of the Philips Avent factory in Glemsford by GCB Cocoa UK is a tremendous leap in the advance of cocoa and chocolate supply production in the UK. This investment will provide training and skilled opportunities in the area, building a vertically integrated supply chain to facilitate the United Kingdom and beyond.
“We look forward to providing our customers with cocoa and chocolate in the future.”
About New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
New Anglia LEP was established by Government in 2010. We are a unique business-led collaboration between the private, public and education sectors across Norfolk and Suffolk. Our ambition is to drive economic growth and transform the l...