Unilever signals 'commercial determination' with £40m project
The news that global consumer goods giant Unilever is to invest £40m into its facilities in the Wirral has been welcomed as a signal of commercial determination and confidence in the region.
The company announced plans yesterday (14 June 2012) to create a new manufacturing and business services hub at its site in Port Sunlight.
The move will create 150 jobs and entail the relocation of 400 staff from Ewloe in North Wales, approximately 15 miles away. However, Unilever is also proposing to close two sites in South Wales, one in Berkshire and to transfer services to India.
Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive Carole Crosby said: "We are very encouraged by the company's announcement.
"Areas from which the company is retracting its activities will no doubt feel the pain in a time when trading conditions are challenging for most businesses.
"In streamlining its offer, Unilever has signalled its commercial determination to survive the downturn. By coming home to Merseyside, Unilever has demonstrated Liverpool city region is a world-class location with the right skills and investment conditions to drive future growth."
The Wirral factory was built more than 100 years ago by the company's founder William Lever and, under the plans, the 120-acre site would be developed into a new manufacturing and business services hub to include a centre of excellence and a IT centre.
It said the feasibility of these proposals would be reviewed over the next three months with a final decision due in the autumn.
In total, the changes could result in a net reduction of around 500 Unilever roles in the UK.
Wirral Council's new leader Cllr Phil Davies said: "This announcement is potentially fantastic news for Unilever Port Sunlight and Wirral and we will do all we can to support the company throughout their consultation process.
"We are tremendously proud of the quality of work that takes place at Port Sunlight and the relationship that has developed between Unilever and the village.
"The company's contribution to the culture, heritage and economy of Wirral is massive and I am pleased that a global company like Unilever continues to have confidence in Port Sunlight as a significant base for its operations."
Unilever's portfolio of products includes Knorr, Hellmann’s, Vaseline, Cif and Marmite.