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Scottish firm to create up to 500 jobs in the food-processing industry

The Scottish bakery group Lightbody is about to start construction of a new factory in Louny in the Usti region of the Czech Republic. The project will create up to 500 new jobs within the next five years.

27.09.2006

Lightbody, the market leader in celebration cakes in most Western European countries, decided to set up its second production base in Central Europe.The Czech Republic was selected for its favourable geographical location, developed transportation network and good availability of cost-effective labour. The company will invest EUR 4.5 million in the new facility in Louny (North Bohemia). “Louny is located 60 km from Prague and its international airport and offers us good access to markets in both Western and Eastern Europe via the Czech motorway network”, explains Dee Scott, Operations Director at Lightbody. The Lightbody factory is the first building to be built in the Central European Food Park, a manufacturing zone in Louny. The Park will be to open to any company connected to the food-processing industry.

Construction is due to start this October and the start of production is scheduled for June 2007. The company plans to employ 400 staff within three years and some 500 by 2011. “In addition to production staff, we are also planning to hire designers and confectionery specialists who will create new products for markets in Central and Eastern Europe. In total we plan to hire 40 staff members with university degrees," adds Ms. Scott. “We are preparing structured training programmes for them, which will ensure that our employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to produce products that exceed our customers´ expectations.”

The Czech food-processing industry has been doing rather well, with output increasing by 11.5% between 2000 and 2004, but due to restructuring the number of employees in the sector fell by more than ten thousand, from 144,000 to 134,000,”says Rene Samek, director of the Investment and Applied Research Support Department of CzechInvest, the national investment and business development agency. Reorganization is the result of concentration of production and increased automation in the sector. The process is likely to continue in the future. Just recently, two major bakery companies, Delta Pekarny and Odkolek, announced that they would release more than 1,000 employees due to a merger of these two companies. “I am glad that Lightbody selected the Czech Republic for this project; new jobs are much welcome in this sector,” Samek concludes.


MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY


Lightbody is an innovative bakery with a history dating back to 1885. Since 1995 the company has focused on production of celebration cakes, cereal and cake bars, and chocolate treats. The company has one of the most modern production lines in Europe in Hamilton, near Glasgow, an office and depot in France and a joint venture in China.

Lightbody products include celebration cakes decorated with motifs from Disney movies such as Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. Demand for such cakes has been growing very fast in continental Europe. The company obtained licences from the Walt Disney Company to produce and sell cakes decorated with Disney characters in most European countries, including France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Russia and all of Central Europe.


CONTACT:

Colin G. Stewart, Director
Lightbody Celebration Cakes
e-mail: colinstewart@lightbody.co.uk
phone: 0044 7836 703938