A GERMAN cardboard manufacturer has given Ellesmere Port its seal of approval with £74 million investment to open a new cardboard manufacturing plant in the town.

Progroup is the latest company to work with Cheshire West and Chester Council to set up a base in the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone.

The company first became associated with Ellesmere Port in 2008 when it decided to base its first UK production site in the town in the newly created Pioneer Business Park on North Road. The centre originally created 50 new jobs.

The site offers an ideal location and infrastructure for businesses to grow and, with the backing of the Council, the company decided to expand. Construction completes in December this year on its new 327,000 square foot ‘corrugated sheet mega plant’ on a site adjacent to the M53. It will generate 500 million square metres of cardboard each year.

Cllr Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, said: “The new state-of-the-art operation will replace the current progroup plant on the Pioneer Business Park, just a few kilometres away.

“The site will feature an upgraded corrugated board machine which enables them to meet increased demand and will further secure the company’s leadership in the European corrugated sheet board market.

“Progroup’s ambition is to have the most efficient and powerful corrugated sheet mega board plant in the world. This will be further supported by space for an additional building of up to 468,000 square feet for which outline planning has also been submitted.

“Ellesmere Port and the Cheshire Science Corridor is a great place for manufacturing and technical industries to do business. The area has a fantastic infrastructure and excellent transport links. The Council strives to help our communities to thrive and we are backing companies like Progroup which wants to invest in our borough and create jobs for the local community.”

Jürgen Heindl, Chief Executive Officer of Progroup, said: “We very much see the need to continue to professionalise the sheetfeeding market in the UK in order to place the supply of raw materials to our customers on an even more solid footing and thus bolster our customers’ competitiveness in this market environment which is undergoing change.”

The Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership has also supported the development by investing in primary substation to support development of Progroup and increase capacity for the Cheshire Science Corridor sites on the whole of New Bridge Road.