FIRST Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a new manufacturing line at Norbord’s Inverness plant, following a £95 million investment.
The wood panel manufacturer received a £12 million grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help fund the expansion, which has seen the plant be upgraded to continuous press technology. This, Norbord claims, will significantly increase the capacity for oriented stand board (OSB) production at the site from 350,000 to 640,000 cubic metres.
The investment has nearly doubled the size of the Dalcross site.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “Norbord’s £95 million expansion of its Dalcross plant is one of the largest single inward investments made into Scotland. It will significantly increase capacity and demonstrates the vibrancy of the Scottish forestry sector.
“This is a welcome investment for the Highlands that will secure a long term future for the factory. It has received more than £12 million support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and is expected to generate £37 million gross value added of new economic activity for the Scottish economy each year, of which £22 million would be retained within the HIE area.”
Karl Norris, Norbord Europe managing director commented, “The launch event was the culmination of several years of work to dramatically increase the capacity of the plant and a fantastic celebration of our investment and commitment to Inverness.
“It was a pleasure to welcome the First Minister to witness first-hand the positive impact the project is having on the community.
“The new line will help ensure we continue to be a leader in OSB production by meeting our customers’ increasing demand for the product.”
Charlotte Wright, HIE chief executive added, “We have worked closely with Norbord and we are delighted to support the company to invest in its Highland base. The expansion will bring economic and job creation opportunities for the area as well as boost the Scottish forestry sector. The positive impact of this development will be felt well beyond Inverness and the Inner Moray Firth.
“Norbord is not only a significant local employer in its own right; it also plays an important strategic role in the region’s forestry sector and is a major user of haulage companies and port infrastructure.”