Paper investment pays off

Paper and non-woven products manufacturer Ahlstrom is investing £19m to expand its Chirnside site and bring in new technology

Finnish paper and non-woven products manufacturer Ahlstrom is investing £19m to expand its Chirnside site in the Scottish Borders and bring in new technology.

The project will create 31 new high quality jobs for the region as well as safeguarding existing jobs at the site.

The project, which is being supported by Scottish Enterprise (SE) Borders and Scottish Development International, will involve the construction of a new 3,700m2 facility adjacent to its current factory, which will house a new production line as well as additional offices and laboratories.

The company’s Chirnside facility currently focuses on the production of specialty paper and non-woven products, such as tea bags, medical drapes and industrial wipes, and is currently experiencing competition from low cost markets in Asia where production costs are cheaper. The significant investment in new technology by Ahlstrom will increase the sales of the plant by approximately one third and ensure the future competitiveness of the facility.

Ahlstrom Chirnside’s managing director, Michael Black, said: ‘This investment, the largest on this site since it was re-opened in the early 1970s, takes the company forward in the new century with regard to the production of high value-add teabag and infusion products.

‘The machine we are building is the first of its kind in the world, and to bring the investment here, to Chirnside, is extremely satisfying. It will form the cornerstone of our competitive edge in the demanding international markets we serve and will mean an increase to our existing contribution of over £10m annually to the local economy.’