Jobs forecast smashed for North Lincs packaging firm

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 22 Feb 2017

A FOURTH line is being installed at Flixborough's Moulded Fibre Products, as the business smashes initial employment estimates.

Thriving sales into the NHS, twinned with the recent British Retail Consortium AA grading – setting the stall out for a firm future in food packaging – has paved the way for the £2 million expansion, bringing with it another 30 jobs.

It will see the first thoughts of a 60-strong team at the Second Avenue base in late 2012 propelled to 80 this year, while the 25,000 sq ft factory footprint is significantly enhanced.

"It is phenomenal, the progress made," said James Gallacher, the managing director who has been at the helm since day one.

"This year we will hit the £5 million turnover mark, and we only started manufacturing in 2013. We are growing year-on-year at 50 per cent, breaking sales records constantly, and are a shining light in the LeisureGrow Group."

The Hertfordshire headquartered business selected northern Lincolnshire over sites in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Merseyside, and has been grateful to the support afforded by the local authority and the growth funds it attracted.

"We are spending £2 million and North Lincolnshire Council has given us 20 per cent of that," Mr Gallacher said. "We couldn't have done it without North Lincolnshire Council. They have been very helpful to us as a business, they have played a big part in our growth."

An installed mould press

The process involves water being mixed with paper and cardboard, to produce a slurry which is then vacuum formed, pressed and extensively dried.

Success with single-use products for the NHS has seen medical aids, led by urine bottles, exported to the Middle East, Australia and Singapore.

The previous phase saw a dedicated machine brought in, exclusively for the health business, but the new line will be able to make medical products, food packaging products and industrial packaging,

"We do see more growth from the NHS," Mr Gallacher enthused. "We have put in a super proposal which we hope will generate more sales, and this expansion will also enable us to be more flexible."

MFP will now be at capacity, having already taken further storage space across the road as it caters for the transportation of items ranging from avacados to flat screen televisions, as well as the single use medical requirements.

"We are running 24 hours a day, six days a week," Mr Gallacher said, spelling out the current challenge. "We always knew the fourth machine would be the hardest to install because of the space, but it is going in and will be commissioned in March, and the new warehouse work is also underway."

That will see a 16,500 sq ft addition to the former Everts Balloons site which the company initially leased, then bought in 2014.

It will mean that more than £4.3 million has been spent since the pulp specialist arrived.

'Strength and performance is shining through'

EARLY PRIDE:  James Gallacher shows Michael Fallon the production lines in early 2013, during his time as Business Minister.

GROUP financial director Jim Travis has praised the performance of Moulded Fibre Products and the support frm the local authority.

The LeisureGrow executive was visiting the site after signing off on the major investments now underway.

Mr Travis said: "I am very proud and pleased with what has been achieved here in a very short space of time. Here we are four years later with four machines on site, one about to be put in and a new warehouse. This site has been expanded very well.

"We have had good help from the local council, and I really hope we have been an inspiration for the success of the scheme."

When the then Business Minister Michael Fallon toured the facility in early 2013 after a £590,000 initial grant, it became the example of what could be achieved with the Growing the Humber Regional Growth Fund pot.

The partnership approach with the economic development team continued with the British Steel Support Fund contribution.

"It is nice to have a manufacturing base in the UK that is exporting, and it has become extremely important, Mr Travis said. "Like a lot of other trading companies in 2017, we have been affected by the exchange situation following Brexit. Moulded Fibre Products is in a strong position and now one of the leading companies in the LeisureGrow Group in terms of strength and performance."

He also lavished praise on the managing director. "The enthusiasm James has is infectious. There is real desire and enthusiasm here."

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