120 Jobs are set to be created at the former Pinneys of Scotland plant in Annan, after it was purchased by food processing company Bhagat Holdings Limited.
The Scottish Government, through Scottish Enterprise, has invested £1.7 million, through a Regional Selective Assistance grant, to support the company to expand its European interests to Scotland. The company plans to create an initial 120 jobs and has indicated there is the potential for the creation of more jobs in the future.
Owner Keshav Bhagat confirmed that production is expected to begin in the autumn and that the company is investing £9 million of capital funding at the site.
Speaking from the Pinneys’ site, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“This is great news for the people of Annan, and for the South of Scotland more generally.
“I’m delighted that an international company like Bhagat Holdings has chosen to invest in Scotland, with the immediate creation of a significant number of jobs, which will make a real difference to local people and the local economy.
“When Young’s closed last summer, I said that we would leave no stone unturned and we would keep working to find a solution and an alternative use for this site. That hard work has now paid off and it is Annan and the local community and families who will benefit. I want to highlight the diligent efforts of Scottish Government staff, working with Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Enterprise, the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, and local partners for the past year, to make this happen.
“Today’s announcement sends a strong message that Scotland remains open for business, and that we are determined to work collaboratively at a national and local level to secure investment and jobs for the people of Scotland.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader, Cllr Elaine Murray said:
“I am very pleased with this announcement and hope it signals an upturn in the region’s economy, following the closure of Pinneys last year. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work behind the scenes, both with prospective investors and to ensure those affected by the closure were supported into alternative employment. Some employees may return to the site, but this could also mean new jobs for the area.
“We welcome Bhagat Holdings to our region and wish them well in the future.”
Bhagat Holdings specialises in adding value to seafood and poultry products, primarily focused on coatings and breadcrumbs, particularly panko breadcrumbs. It has supply contracts across Europe and the UK, with its largest contracts being with Brakes (food service business) where it supplies over 50 product lines into the UK, and is a major supplier of filet-of-fish products to McDonald’s across Eastern Europe.
The company will benefit from £1.7 million of Regional Selective Assistance funding, provided by Scottish Enterprise to create or protect jobs in Scotland
Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell and Dumfriesshire constituency MSP Oliver Mundell have warmly welcomed the sale of the former Pinneys’ food processing factory at Annan.
Purchaser Bhagat Holdings Limited plan to begin production in the autumn creating in the region 120 jobs and with the prospect of further employment in the longer term.
Both politicians have been involved in efforts to secure future employment on the 11-acre Stapleton Road complex since parent company Young’s announced last winter they were closing the factory with the loss of more than 450 jobs.
David Mundell said: “I understand the buyer has a clear detailed long-term business plan for the site and, although the initial number of jobs may be significantly less than Pinneys’ employed, more vacancies are expected as production expands.
“Fortunately most of the original Pinneys’ workforce has found alternative employment although this encouraging development should mean work closer to home for some.
“It will be a real lift for the local economy after a very difficult year and I’m sure one of the attractions to the buyer was the excellent skills base, flexibility and dedication shown over many years of the local workforce.”
Oliver Mundell was equally upbeat about the sale of the site and praised officials from various agencies, including the council and Scottish Development International (SDI), for working so hard to help secure a deal.
He said: “This development has lifted a dark shadow which has been hanging over Annan for many months.
“There was a fantastic campaign by former Pinneys workers and other townspeople to highlight the strengths of the workforce and I’m sure that proved one of the deal-makers for the purchaser.
“I’m particularly pleased that this large factory will come back into use soon as sitting empty for too long could eventually have led to it deteriorating.”
South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that 120 jobs will be created at the former Pinney’s factory in Annan after the Scottish Government found a buyer for the site.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’m absolutely delighted by today’s announcement, it’s a fantastic boost for the people of Annan who were left reeling last year when Youngs closed their Pinneys factory. There was hardly a family in the town that wasn’t affected by the loss and I was as dismayed as they were when it emerged that Youngs would be creating hundreds of new jobs just weeks later at their factory in Grimsby.
“The news is especially welcome as the region experienced a spate of job losses last year on top of the Pinneys closure. This included Edinburgh Woollen Mill, who moved its head office and 190 jobs from Langholm to Carlisle, and Arla, who transferred 14 cheese packaging jobs from its factory in Lockerbie to Oswestry in Shropshire.
“Today’s announcement is another great example of the Scottish Government supporting jobs and delivering for the people of Dumfries and Galloway. The investment follows news of a dedicated new enterprise agency for the region, a major new tourism campaign, #seesouthscotland and a pledge of £85 million towards the Borderlands project.”
Local MSP Colin Smyth said, “The news that a buyer has been found for the Pinneys factory at long last will be welcomed by the community and the hope will be that the new owners can grow the workforce once more. However, the number of posts being created initially will be a fraction of the jobs lost at Pinneys. There is still an urgent need for the UK and Scottish Government to properly invest in the local economy and that’s why I have renewed my call for a £10 million Economic Action Plan for Annan.
The tragedy of the closure of Pinneys was the fact there simply weren’t enough alternative jobs in the area when the economic tsunami of its closure hit Annan. The closure meant people having to move away or travel long distances to find work. More needs to be done to grow existing businesses and attract new ones to the area so we don’t have to rely so heavily again on a very small number of big employers.”