Bosch Miskin site taken over by Renishaw

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the new firm could be the 'start of something big'

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A Gloucestershire engineering firm has opened a manufacturing plant at the former Bosch factory site in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Renishaw, which makes industrial measuring equipment, bought the 200-acre (80 hectare) Miskin site in July last year on the day production halted.

At its peak the German motor parts firm employed 1,500 people.

Renishaw only employs around 20 people but hopes to locate much of the company's future manufacturing there.

Bosch's decision to close down its production in south Wales was one of the biggest single blows to the Welsh economy during the recession.

Around 900 workers lost their jobs when the German-owned firm decided to transfer work to Hungary.

It followed the laying off of 600 contracted and agency staff at the site in 2008.

The Bosch factory had opened in 1991 to make alternator products for cars, with the help of £21m in public grants from the now-defunct Welsh Development Agency.

Renishaw is seen by some as one of the stand-out success stories of British manufacturing in recent years.

It already employs more than 3,000 people, mainly at five sites in Gloucestershire where it is one of the county's largest employers.

The group supplies products used for applications from jet engine and wind turbine manufacture, through to dentistry and brain surgery.

The vast majority of what it makes is exported around the world, including 20% to China.

Renishaw said it has begun production in around a fifth of the existing Miskin factory.

It says on current predictions it is likely to fill the entire factory in five to seven years' time, creating hundreds of jobs.

But on the day of the official opening it also confirmed long-term plans to build a second factory of the same size next door to the existing one.

Renishaw says it will pay for that development by selling off three-quarters of the entire site.

Over-delivering

A planning application is due to be made to the Vale of Glamorgan Council early next year for a business park and distribution warehouse on the site.

The intention is to sell it to developers after planning permission has been granted.

After all the disappointment at this site over the years, the talk at the opening ceremony was of under-promising and over-delivering.

Unlike Bosch, Renishaw did not receive any major grants to come to Wales but it bought the land off Bosch for just £7m, a staggering price when you think that it is a 200-acre site situated on a prime site next to the M4.

We were expecting to see developments within the factory at the official opening but the unveiling of a long-term plan to build a second equally large factory - funded by selling off big chunks of land to developers - was a surprise.

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