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80 jobs as Cumbrian firm builds new factory for plastic bank notes

Cumbria is poised to be at the centre of a banking revolution – prompting a planned £20 million investment and the creation of up to 80 jobs.

David Beeby photo
David Beeby, of Innovia

Innovia has been named by the Bank of England as the company it expects to enter into a contract with to supply material for new-style £5 and £10 notes, sparking a huge cash injection at the company’s Wigton site.

Innovia says it plans to build a new plant, which will need an investment of more than £20m. This is on top of investment of the same amount announced earlier this year for a different production expansion.

Innovia says the new facility for the polymer material used for the money is expected to be fully operational in early 2016.

It should produce the plastic needed for £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill launched in 2016 and a £10 note featuring Jane Austen a year later.

The investment is expected to create 70 to 80 extra jobs. The announcement by the firm came after the Bank of England revealed it would issue plastic bank notes for the first time when the new £5 appears.

Innovia has been singled out because its polymer is already well established, being used in 23 other countries.

In a statement, the Bank of England said it “expects to enter a contract with Innovia Security (a division of Innovia Group) to supply the polymer material for the new-style £5 and £10 notes”.

David Beeby, Innovia Group chief executive, said: “This decision not only recognises the benefits that polymer notes have to offer but also Innovia’s expertise in this field.”

Rob Johnston, chief executive of the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Any new contract of any significance is good news but in this case to know that the material that money is printed on is made in Cumbria is something we can be quite proud of really.

“We did a pilot with the Bank of England where we asked businesses what they thought of the new notes.

“They are very different. They don’t really feel like money but you will get used to it. The retailers were quite taken with them.

“It just shows that in making a product of that standard, Cumbrian businesses can deliver.”

Stewart Young, Cumbria County Council leader, added: “It’s fantastic. We’ve had quite a few hits so it’s great to be able to end 2013 with some positive news.”

Local councillors were also thrilled. Binky Armstrong, who represents Wigton on Allerdale council, said: “This is wonderful news for the town. You can’t have a higher profile than supplying notes to the Bank of England.”

Polymer banknotes are manufactured from a transparent plastic film, specially coated with an ink layer that enables it to carry the design features of banknotes. The material allows the inclusion of windows or clear portions, which enhance protection against counterfeiting.

The company employs about 1,600 people worldwide and more than 900 at Wigton.

It has two divisions. Innovia Films produces polypropylene and cellulose at production sites in the UK, USA, Belgium and Australia and is a major player in the market for items such as labels, security films and coated packaging. Innovia Security is the supplier of the banknote material.

Have your say

Innovia is supposed to be selling the company to Pamplona Capital Management a fund backed by a Russian billionaire.

Posted by John on 31 December 2013 at 17:04

Innovia already supply the polymer for the Australian bank note. Well done

Posted by Charles on 27 December 2013 at 03:30

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