MORE than 150 jobs will be created in a former vending machine factory.
Danish company Faerch Plast has refurbished the 14,000 sq m Veriplast factory on the Dragonville Industrial Estate, in Durham City, to make plastic food trays.
More jobs could be created with the opening of a distribution centre on the site of a former council depot opposite the Damson Way factory.
The news is a welcome boost for the area as Kerry Foods is set to close with the loss of 400 jobs, and staff at Peters Bakery face an uncertain future after the company went into administration earlier this month.
Durham is Faerch Plast’s first factory in the UK, with others in Denmark and the Czech Republic.
Managing director Joe Lannidinardo said: “We are confident Durham is the right place for us. It is close to the A1 and the workforce has the skills we are looking for.
“The factory itself already had some of what we needed in terms of electricity and compressed-air supply, but we are spending multimillions of pounds to bring it up to our specification.
“We are now on-stream making product here, and are in the phase of ramping up production.
“In the longer term we hope to open a distribution centre opposite to service the factory.”
Faerch Plast sells trays for cold and hot food to companies which use them to package produce for supermarkets and retailers.
“A lot of our trays are used in own-label products,” said Mr Lannidinardo, “They are designed to be made from one type of plastic to make them easier to recycle.
“About 90 per cent of what we produce in Durham is for the UK market, with the rest going for export.
“We are making a significant investment in Durham and we are determined to make it work.”