Spanish automotive parts producer Grupo Antolin-Irausa will invest £12 million ($20.2 million) to build a plant to make headliner trim and rear package trays in Britain.
The Burgos-based company, with operations in 16 countries, expects to start building the 118,400-square-foot plant in Ramsgate in southeastern England in December.
The Irausa plant, which will employ 230, is due to be in full production by February 2000, according to the local municipal authority, Thanet District Council.
Irausa, with 4,000 employees and $600 million in annual sales, decided to set up its first plant in Britain after securing several contracts worth almost $34 million. The new plant will serve the United Kingdom and northern Europe, the council said.
The company already ships 4,500 units a day to Britain from its existing factories in continental Europe. Customers include Ford Motor Co., PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA and Johnson Controls Inc.
The county's investment agency, ``Locate in Kent,'' helped the firm obtain grants for trade and industry ministry development and regional assistance from the British government.
Irausa needed a U.K. manufacturing operation to serve the British market and provide a base from which to expand its market penetration, President Jose Antolin Toledano said in a news release.
He said Irausa considered siting the plant in northern France and elsewhere in Britain, including West Midlands county—heart of the automotive industry — but it chose the English Channel port town of Ramsgate for its available labor and access to markets.
Irausa's facility will have enough capacity to ship products into mainland Europe by 2001.