Simplified support helps CommScope develop new manufacturing line in Fife
Scottish Enterprise today announces that global network infrastructure manufacturer, CommScope, has been awarded £275,000 of grant funding towards a project with capital expenditure of £1 million, which will develop a new production line for its Fife facility, safeguarding over 90 jobs in Scotland.
The local facility was chosen for this expansion over the company’s US and Chinese facilities in a deal which saw, for the first time, the economic development agency streamline three grant applications into one offer to make it a more attractive proposal for CommScope’s American parent company to endorse.
The new production line will see the company, which currently employs 140 people at its Lochgelly plant, manufacture three different sizes of aluminium cable in parallel with its existing production of copper cabling, for the telecoms and wireless communications market. The decision to diversify its product range comes as a result of direct customer feedback to meet new customer demands, as well as the impact to its business of the highly volatile copper commodity price over recent years.
CommScope site manager, David Dryburgh, said “Significant advances in aluminium-based cable technology combined with the continued high volatility of copper pricing have fuelled a shift in customer demand for cabling in wireless networks. CommScope has expanded its offerings to address this market shift, and we are proud that our Lochgelly facility can grow to help meet this new demand.
“The funding from Scottish Enterprise has really made everything possible for us. Its new streamlined approach to access funding from three different grants has enabled us to secure investment from our parent company and ultimately secure our future at our facility in Lochgelly.”
This news comes as Scottish Enterprise hosts its Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) national manufacturing conference in Dunblane today, 27 March, where over 300 delegates from Scotland’s manufacturing sector will come together to discuss and debate the challenges and issues facing the sector.
Global manufacturing companies such as FMC Technologies, Alexander Dennis and Linn Products will address delegates, offering their own insights, experiences, tips and techniques for business growth. The conference also provides a platform for businesses to help shape the vision for Scottish manufacturing through discussions with senior government ministers and public sector agencies.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies are working hard to retain Scotland’s position as the most competitive environment to do business in the UK.
“CommScope’s decision to invest £1m in Fife to expand and diversify their operations is testament to its quality workforce and the excellent support the company has received from Scottish Enterprise.
“Scotland has a reputation for excellence in innovation and engineering and I am delighted this global manufacturer chose Fife over fierce competition from overseas.
“Manufacturing continues to make a substantial contribution to Scotland’s economy and accounts for almost 40 per cent of exports. The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service’s conference brings together global manufacturing firms and provides valuable information and support to ensure firms, like CommScope, can realise their growth plans right here in Scotland.”
Scottish Enterprise chief executive, Lena Wilson, said: “Innovation and product development, together with efficient and effective processes, are at the heart of remaining competitive, and I’m delighted to see CommScope displaying exactly these qualities as its continues on its path to success.
“We’ve been working with David and his team for the last five years, and we’ll continue to support them as they focus on delivering their new production line. As the team looks to fulfil their growth ambitions, we’ll help support them in areas such as leadership development and specific manufacturing support.
“Our customers are at the heart of what we do and this new streamlined approach is a result of feedback we’ve received from them to make our grants less administrative. Similarly, we continue to monitor and respond to business challenges in the current economic climate, really focussing our support on our customer’s needs. Which is why innovation, as well as international trade and investment and leadership, are just some of the priorities highlighted in our new three year business plan, which we will launch later this week.”
Manufacturing is an important sector to Scotland’s economy – it’s home to more than 8,000 companies, employs around 172,000 people and accounts for nearly 40 per cent of Scotland’s exports. To find out more about how Scottish Enterprise can help support the manufacturing sector, visit www.scottishmas.co.uk
A breakdown of the grants are as follows:
- Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) - £150,000 against a capital expenditure of £1 million, safeguarding 89 jobs
- Training Plus - SE contribution of £40,606 towards total cost of £117,700 to support training costs
- Research & Development - £83,957 towards a £335,828 project to help develop new processes and techniques to implement a new production process