Sonae seeks contractor to rebuild factory

Chipboard maker Sonae Industria UK said it will rebuild its manufacturing plant in Knowsley following a fire in June.

The project value is still unknown due to the ongoing controlled demolition process to remove debris and assess the feasibility of using some of the remaining plant equipment and is expected to be complete in approximately six weeks.

Nigel Graham, managing director of Sonae Industria UK, said: "Sonae Industria UK has now completed the re-engineering and re-design of the wood yard area damaged by the fire on 9 June. Tenders have been requested from a number of specialist contractors for the work that will be carried out over the next nine months, which includes a phased start up of the new operation.

"Sonae Industria remains totally committed to the UK market and its business partners. The management and staff at Knowsley are fully dedicated to enhancing the relationship with all stakeholders and there is confidence that this new investment will improve operational performance and address reliability issues we have experienced in the past. We would like to thank our staff and customers for their continued support."

Production is expected to resume in two stages, the first will enable 80% of full capacity to be available from October 2011. The second and final stage, which may be subject to planning approval, will return the operation to full production from the first quarter of 2012.

During the rebuilding process, the Sonae Industria Group will provide board for the UK from other European mills. Supply commitments have been secured to ensure business continuity during the period of reconstruction.

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