Norway’s Sapa AS announced yesterday that it is reopening its once-shuttered aluminium extrusion plant in Bedwas, southern Wales.
Closed since 2014, the Bedwas plant will be retooled and utilized for the manufacture of lightweight aluminium body structures. Citing a growing need for lightweight automotive components, Sapa plans to invest £9.6 million (US$12.97 million) in the project to bring the plant back online.
According to Sapa, the facility already has its first customer, as London Electrical Vehicle Company (LEVC) has tapped the Bedwas facility as a supplier for its new zero-emissions capable black cab.
The shuttered facility at Bedwas beat out another plant for the job thanks, in part, to a grant of £550,000 (US$743,060) from the Welsh government to be spent on the project.
According to Sapa, the next five years will see an additional 130 jobs added at the plant.
Sapa business area president John Thuestad lauded the move as a net positive for both the company and the area.
“This is great day for both Sapa and manufacturing in Wales. Sapa had to end extrusion operations in Bedwas in 2014 due to overcapacity in the market, but we are now pleased to be able to return to Wales with our new automotive components business. This is a good example of how industrial companies such as Sapa are growing in advanced markets fueled by demands for lighter vehicles and more sustainable materials.”
Sapa Components UK Ltd’s Calvin Carpenter pointed out the significant amount of work that has been devoted to bring the factory back online.
“This is a proud day as it is a culmination of nearly three years working with London Taxi throughout its development phases to enable us to supply major body components to the ‘new state of the art’ facility in Ansty, Coventry.”
Based in Oslo, Sapa AS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norsk Hydro ASA. The firm is the largest aluminium extrusion-based solutions company in the world, with one hundred plants in over three dozen countries, and employs almost 23,000.