GSK Montrose in the running for £500 million investment

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GLAXOSMITHKLINE’S (GSK) Montrose factory is in the running for a £500 million investment which could create up to 1,000 jobs in the area, it emerged this week.

The site is one of four in the UK currently being assessed by the pharmaceutical company for the potential investment, prompted by a change in legislation which will favourably off-set corporation tax against products developed and patented in this country.

A GSK spokesman said this week said: “As a consequence of that, GSK has said it is actively looking at a potential investment of up to £500 million in the UK.

“If the government brings in that legislation, GSK would look very favourably on investing and Montrose is one of four sites in the UK currently being assessed for this investment.”

The manufacture of some of the company’s steroidal products for the treatment of skin conditions has already been reintroduced to the plant to supply another of its divisions. It bought over the dermatological company Steifel in 2009 and the Montrose factory manufactures the active ingredients used in skin treatments for conditions such as eczema.

It is also poised to transfer biomanufacturing of several products to Montrose from one of its factories in India.

The 280 local staff received a ringing endorsement last week from GSK chief executive Andrew Witty during a visit to the factory, who said the plant is now “globally competitive” and that the move is a reflection of its “extraordinary emphasis on efficiency”.

He said: “It is extraordinary to think that just a few years ago the Montrose plant was close to shutting down, but the workforce applied great brain power to cost and process efficiency and now we are actually bringing work back from India and Montrose is where it is going.

“This is a workforce that has rolled with the punches.”

The news has been welcomed by local councillors who are keen to make a case for any investment coming to Montrose.

Economic development spokesman Councillor David May said: “I’m really delighted that Montrose is in the running and it’s a reflection of the hard work of the management and staff.

“As their chief executive said, it’s because of that work they’re now in the running for what could be a major expansion as a global player. This would be a boost not just for the town but the wider Angus economy.”

Councillor Mark Salmond said it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and that he had asked council chief executive Richard Stiff to set up and chair a working group to support the local plant’s case.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted that on his visit to the Montrose factory last week, GSK chief executive Andrew Witty acknowledged this extraordinary emphasis on efficiency at the Montrose plant.”

Mr Stiff said this week that the authority intends to work with the company as it develops its local operations.

He said: “I have written to GSK’s managing director, Andrew Witty, to confirm that the council is keen to discuss the possibilities for the site and clarify how we might enable the company to see Montrose as the location of choice for this investment.”