A HEAVY lifting and transportation company is plotting growth after a £7m North-East expansion.

Mammoet is moving into a new base in Thornaby, near Stockton, which bosses say will be home for 180 workers, with 140 staff from Billingham joined by nearly 40 from Leeds.

Officials also say the Teesside Industrial Estate site will help the business grow by 50 per cent in the coming years, adding it will build on a previous £26m outlay on mobile cranes and project equipment.

Mammoet employs more than 5,000 people in 31 countries but Matthew Gent, the firm’s UK managing director, said it sees real potential in the domestic market.

Highlighting the energy sector, Mr Gent cited Mammoet’s market reputation for supporting projects requiring heavy-duty lifting and transport services and installation and decommissioning.

He said: “This is a long-term investment that emphasises just how important the UK market and customer base is.

“There are significant opportunities in petrochemical, oil and gas, power, nuclear and infrastructure projects and we have the expertise.

“We foresee further expansion of the UK business of up to 50 per cent, and this facility will allow us to meet anything that comes our way.”

The firm arrived in the UK in 1989 and set up a sales office in Bedlington, Northumberland. It expanded into Teesside in 2002.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Neil Schneider, chief executive of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, met with Mammoet bosses and Teesside Industrial Estate owner UK Land Estates to view the base, which is due to open next month.