£17m investment will help create dozens of jobs at three firms

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THREE companies in south east Northumberland are to be given a share of a £17m investment package set to create or safeguard more than 180 jobs.

The investment is being lined up thanks to a £2m handout from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The bid for the cash was put together by Northumberland County Council, the Tyne and Wear Development Company and the companies involved.

The firms set to benefit include Aesica Pharmaceuticals and Precision Hydraulic Cylinders at Cramlington and Piramal Healthcare UK at Morpeth.

The others are Shasun Pharma Solutions at Dudley and Rettig at Team Valley.

They will use the cash to try to build on their international success in the healthcare, life science, advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors.

County council leader Jeff Reid, of Blyth’s Plessey ward, said: “This is extremely good news for manufacturing in Northumberland and the north east and shows that with the right assistance our leading companies can compete even more successfully in the global economy.

“Our regeneration service has supported three of the county’s key companies to secure this investment jointly with our partners on Tyneside.

“This news, added to similar success in the first round, means that, in total, we have helped secure more than £25m investment, more than 390 jobs and £3.7m in Regional Growth Fund funding, helping key sectors grow and rebalance the local economy both in Northumberland and on Tyneside where many of our residents travel to work.”

Putting the individual bids together in a packaged approach ensured that the combined application was above the minimum fund grant threshold.

Paul Buie, manager of Tyne and Wear Development Company, said: “We are delighted that our collaborative approach has been so successful in bringing much-needed new job opportunities to the area.”

Aesica Pharmaceuticals, run from a head office in Newcastle but also based at the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients site in Cramlington, is looking to diversify.

Kevin Cook, managing director of its Cramlington business unit, said: “This is very good news for Aesica and will enable us to invest in our capability to introduce new products to the market, the majority of which are destined for export markets.

“Furthermore, it will help to secure the continued viability of the Cramlington site, providing long-term job security for our employees.”

Piramal Healthcare will use its grant to help create 46 new jobs. The company is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organisations.

It specialises in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients, formulated and packaged products and clinical trial supplies, with the vast majority of its output exported to more than 100 countries worldwide.

Site lead Jarrett Palmer said: “This is most welcome news.

“The funding will go a long way towards supporting our ambitious growth plans over the next five years.

“The grant will enable us to invest in new capabilities which will enable us to enter new markets worldwide.”

Precision Hydraulic Cylinders will use the support to help create 25 new jobs.

Managing director Robert Scott said: “This is great news for us.

“The grant will help us to extend our existing factory, increase productive capacity and introduce some new capabilities on site.

“Once again, the help and support we have received from Northumberland County Council has been greatly appreciated.”