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More Unilever investment into Port Sunlight with latest R&D announcement

Unilever has today announced that it will open a new £24 million Advanced Manufacturing Centre in 2016 at its Research & Development facility in Port Sunlight. The new 6500m2 Advanced Manufacturing Centre will be approximately the size of a football pitch and will be unique within Unilever globally. The Centre will house a state-of-the-art pilot plant, which will allow scientists and engineers to test new ideas during new product development up to factory scale for personal care and homecare products.

New £24 million Advanced Manufacturing Centre to open in 2016

The Advanced Manufacturing Centre is the latest in a line of recent investments Unilever has made into Port Sunlight, the global company’s historic home, and the surrounding area:

  • a recently opened global IT hub housing 800 expert IT professionals helping the business respond more quickly to market developments and improve how it serves customers and consumers,
  • a new personal care factory due to open in 2015 where brands such as TRESemmé, Radox and VO5 will be produced for the UK market and international export,
  • a new shared facility - Materials Innovations Factory - to be built at the heart of the science campus of the University of Liverpool with a focus on cutting edge chemistry, formulation and high throughput product assessment and will open in 2016.

The Advanced Manufacturing Centre, which will be boosted by £4 million from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund, will be configured to allow close working with industrial and academic partners. The Centre will be a flexible facility that will test new and transformational technologies and will house replica equipment and conditions found in Unilever sites around the globe. This will allow scientists and engineers to create consumer driven innovations and instantly scale them for Unilever’s global Supply Chain based in Port Sunlight.

Cameron Jones, Unilever Port Sunlight Site Leader, said: “Unilever has been in the manufacturing business for over 125 years and this is the next step on that exciting journey. The Centre creates a step-change in our ability to bring truly innovative products to market faster.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The Regional Growth Fund is investing in hundreds of companies across the country so that they can grow and innovate. We’re seeing encouraging signs that our economy is on the road to recovery, and I pay tribute to Unilever for its continued commitment to Port Sunlight. It’s an excellent example of creating sustainable employment in the North West.”

Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said, “This is fantastic news for Port Sunlight and the Wirral. To have a global company such as Unilever decide to build a state of the art Advanced Manufacturing Centre here demonstrates the Wirral can compete on the world stage and again shows Unilever’s ongoing commitment to the area.”

ENDS

About the Regional Growth Fund

The Government’s Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England grow. So far £2.9 billion has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth. Round 6 is now open. It closes at midday 30 September 2014. For more information please go to www.bis.gov.uk/rgf.

Katya Bridges - UK and Ireland Media Relations Manager

T: 01372 945925
M: 07785 450287

katya.bridges@unilever.com

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