A TIMBER company has announced plans to build a £5m manufacturing plant in Seaham, east Durham, resulting in the creation of 40 jobs within the first two years.

Robertson Timber Products (RTP) yesterday signalled its intentions to build a timber frame manufacturing facility at Fox Cover Enterprise Park in Seaham.

The plant and offices are due to open in June and will increase the company's timber frame production four-fold. Turnover for RTP, which is part of the Robertson Group, is expected to be in excess of £40m by the end of 2005.

Executive chairman of the Robertson group, Bill Robertson said: "This development will change the profile of RTP, making it a major force in the UK timber trade.

"There was no difficulty in choosing Seaham as a base for our expansion because our move into the North-East of England in recent years has met with significant success, by different parts of our group. We have had considerable assistance from the regional development agency One NorthEast, District of Easington and County Durham Development Company and through that, together with our own considerable investment, we are confident of further growth from that base."

The company received a £200,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant from regional development agency One NorthEast towards the cost of the development and worked closely with the East Durham Enterprise Zone Partnership on the development.

Manufacturing from the company's headquarters in Elgin, Scotland and Seaham will continue to expand in the residential, commercial, education, healthcare and self-build markets.