A DANISH food packaging firm has announced growth plans that will double North-East production capacity and increase its workforce by 50 per cent.

The move comes two years after Faerch Plast bought the former Veriplast site, known locally as Mono Containers, near Durham City, which had closed in 2011 with the loss of 67 jobs.

Faerch Plant, which now employs 60 staff on Dragonville Industrial Estate, makes plastic trays for the food industry.

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New equipment, including an additional extrusion line and associated thermoformers will be installed at the Durham site by early 2015.

As part of this latest investment, Faerch Plast will also fit additional equipment such as cutting-edge robot packing systems, cooling machines and compressors.

The plant will also benefit from a 2000m² extension to increase its stockholding capacity, as well as an increase in headcount to about 90 people, with most of the new recruits set to boost the firm's production line.

Furthermore, the company has acquired land adjacent to the factory, giving it 30,000m² its disposal in Durham for further expansion as demand increases.

Earlier this year, Faerch Plast, which has voiced ambitions to increase its Durham workforce to around 150, was bought by private equity group EQT.

Lars Gade Hansen, the chief executive at Faerch Plast Group, said “This on-going investment in Durham emphasises our commitment to local customers and further increases supply chain security for our wide range of food containers.

"This also underlines the commitment of our new owners, EQT, to continue investing in Faerch Plast’s growth. It marks a very important time in our business strategy and will help accelerate our expansion in the UK.

Joe Iannidinardo, the managing director at Faerch Plast UK, said: “The investment also enables us to efficiently service our UK customers with an enhanced portfolio of products in a facility built to the highest standards of quality and efficiency,” Joe concludes. “We remain dedicated to investing in our customers’ futures and to growing our business.”

Since it was established in 1969, Faerch Plast has become one of Europe’s leading producers of plastic containers for the food industry.