Ford, Stellantis and Kraft Heinz: Some of the biggest North West investments in 2021

Over the last 12 months some of the largest companies operating in the North West have announced major investments into the region.

Household names in business have backed the North West to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds.

Thousands of jobs across the region have been safeguarded as a direct result of these announcements which have helped boost business confidence during the year.

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Below, BusinessLive rounds up a selection of the largest investment stories of the year:

Ford Ford Focus EcoBoost Hybrid (Image: Western Morning News)

In October, we reported that Ford is planning to invest £230m into its Halewood factory to make electric vehicle components in a move which will safeguard 500 jobs and could create up to 700 roles.

The US giant said the Merseyside plant will be “transformed” to build electric power units for future Ford all-electric passenger and commercial vehicles in Europe.

Halewood will be Ford’s first electric vehicle component in-house assembly site in Europe, with production beginning in 2024.

Ford has committed to having all its passenger vehicles as all-electric and two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.

Power unit production in Halewood is expected to begin in mid-2024, with capacity planned to be around 250,000 units a year.

Ford said the investment is subject to, and includes, Government support through its Automotive Transformation Fund.

You can read the full story here.

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Essar Oil (UK) The Essar Stanlow Refinery in Ellesmere Port (Image: Essar Oil (UK))

Plans for two hydrogen production plans which could attract £750m of investment to the region were unveiled by the owner of Stanlow Refinery during the year.

Essar Oil (UK) is seeking the approval of Cheshire West and Chester Council to construct the plants at the site in Ellesmere Port.

The company said the plants would form a “central pillar” of the landmark ‘HyNet North West’ initiative, a low carbon energy project that aims to position the region at the “leading edge” of the UK’s transition to net zero.

If approved, construction work is scheduled to begin on site by the end of 2022, with hydrogen production set to commence by the mid-2020s.

You can read the full story here.

Stellantis Stellantis is investing £100m in the Ellesmere Port Vauxhall plant (Image: Stellantis)

In July, Vauxhall’s owner Stellantis confirmed a £100m investment into its Ellesmere Port plant, securing hundreds of jobs at the huge site.

The global carmaker held a press conference where it announced plans for its Cheshire hub to become its new centre for manufacturing electric vans.

The news means the future of the plant being secured, with hundreds of jobs at the site – and thousands more in the supply chain – effectively saved.

Around 800 people are directly employed by the Vauxhall plant, known for manufacturing the Astra model.

Earlier this year, Vauxhall’s French parent company PSA merged with Fiat Chrysler to form a new automotive superpower called Stellantis.

Following that merger, it was revealed that the future of the North West plant was in doubt – largely due to the upcoming ban on new petrol and diesel cars, meaning plans to continue building the Astra there were scrapped.

You can read the full story here.

Kraft Heinz Heinz Tomato Ketchup (324g) (Image: Iceland)

A £140m investment drive was announced by food manufacturing giant Kraft Heinz into its Wigan factory in June.

The site at Kitt Green, Orrell, is the largest food processing plant in Europe and around 1.3 billion cans of food are produced at the plant every year.

As part of the plans, the manufacture of sauces such as Heinz Tomato Ketchup would be brought back to the UK and 50 new jobs could be created.

The investment would also be used to fund updated manufacturing equipment and technology.

You can read the full story here.

MoveStreets Adam Kamani

Adam Kamani, the co-founder of PrettyLittleThing, recently announced a £5m investment into his property portal app.

MoveStreets is the ‘swipe right to like’ app which has already matched more than 70,000 people with a home to buy or to let.

Mr Kamani has pledged a £5m technology investment and selected fellow Manchester-based company Apadmi as MoveStreets’ development partner.

The team at Apadmi, headed by CEO Garry Partington, will focus on iOS and Android app development to scale the MoveStreets app at “pace and to architect, refresh and innovate via a 12-month roadmap”.

Apadmi’s client portfolio includes Domino’s Pizza UK & Ireland, Co-op, SailGP, Wattbike and Chelsea FC.

You can read the full story here.

Ultimate Products Ultimate Products’ newly-refurbished HQ (Image: Ultimate Products)

Consumer goods brands giant Ultimate Products opened its refurbished offices at its Greater Manchester headquarters during the year following a near £2m investment.

Manor Mill, which has served as the listed firm’s main base since 1997, is a 200,000 sq ft, five-storey former cotton spinning mill located in Chadderton, Oldham.

The group said the decision to renovate Manor Mill’s fourth floor was taken in 2019 in order to provide additional capacity for future growth and a better quality workspace for the group’s office-based workforce.

The renovated space now contains an additional 250 workspaces as well as a social area for refreshments and meetings, filtered ventilation systems, increased collaboration areas, and enhanced technology for digital meetings, along with increased onsite training and development facilities.

The work undertaken also focused on improving the building’s efficiency, sustainability and energy conservation.

You can read the full story here.

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