Tuesday 21 October 2014

€59m Waterford facility set to create 400 new jobs

Declan O'Brien

Published 16/07/2014 | 02:30

Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney pays a visit to SmartPly at Waterford Port Co Kilkenny with (l-r) Gerry Britchfield Acting CEO, Coillte, Coillte chairman John Maloney and Neil Foot of Coillte Panel Products

Fire retardant wood panels and specialist timber sheets to be used as components in energy-efficient buildings are among a range of products which will be developed at a new €59m facility in Waterford port.

The investment in Coillte's Smartply factory in Belview was approved last week by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin.

"This facility is of significant strategic importance in the south-east and will support over 400 jobs directly and indirectly. It will allow for the development of new and innovative products and is tangible evidence that the company is focused on growth and meeting the demands of its customers," Minister Coveney said.

"Smartply has been located in Belview for almost 20 years and in that time it has become an integral part of the business community. The investment is a major vote of confidence in the forest products sector in Ireland and will include the upgrading of the current plant and the development of a new innovation centre," he added.

The minister said the facility would support future innovations in the sector and provide a major market for private as well as public timber.

The new innovation centre will be incorporated into an ongoing extension of the plant. New products planned for the facility include:

  • Environmentally friendly panels with 'low carbon footprint';
  • Components of engineered wood building systems;
  • Specialist panels with value-added surface coatings;
  • Highly durable panels for use in extreme climatic conditions.

The investment will create approximately 200 construction jobs for the duration of the building work.

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