A car parts firm is to create 75 jobs after moving to a new home in Seaham.
FM Coatings is branching out from its home in Boldon Colliery into 23,000 sq ft premises at Seaham Grange Industrial Estate after seeing its turnover triple since it was established in 2007.
The business employs 90 staff in Boldon but with no scope to increase capacity on site, it sought out extra premises.
The company paints plastic automotive components using a wet spray system and is a tier two supplier to a number of car manufacturers including Nissan, JLR and Ford.
Part of its expansion has come from an increasing demand for exterior painted car parts in modern cars, and the majority of new jobs, up to 75 by 2020, are likely to be for operators of the high-tech machinery.
The firm has begun installation of a bespoke, technically advanced automated paint plant at Seaham, capable of achieving the required quality standards for exterior automotive components.
Director Mick Ford said: "There were a number of reasons for choosing the factory in Seaham, including the excellent support we received from Durham County Council.
"The new fully automated paint plant in our Seaham factory will allow us to expand further into the exterior component market where we have seen considerable growth over the last 12 months.
"The new plant will be commissioned in June, with the first project starting in December. We expect the majority of new employees to come from the immediate local area and look forward to recruitment starting later this year."
Durham County Council leader Coun Simon Henig, said: "We’re delighted FM Coatings has chosen Durham as the location for their expansion.
"This county has so much to offer businesses; from our uniquely innovative and supportive business environment, fantastic transport links, access to graduates from world leading universities, right through to the beauty of our countryside and coast which makes this county such a pleasure to work in.
"We strongly believe that Durham is a business beacon and would encourage other business leaders to consider this wonderful county as a destination for their own companies."
Peter Rippingale, inward investment manager for Business Durham, said: "FM Coatings is a classic example of a company whose skills and expertise are in high demand from some of the biggest car manufacturers in the country.
"We look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength in County Durham following the installation of their new state-of-the-art paint plant."