Scotland business

Chivas Brothers plans move to new £40m facility in Dumbarton

Chivas Brothers plant at Paisley Image copyright Chivas Brothers
Image caption Chivas Brothers plans to invest £40m in a new facility at its Kilmalid site in Dumbarton

Spirits producer Chivas Brothers has announced plans to close its operations in Paisley and build a new £40m bottling plant at its Kilmalid site in Dumbarton.

The firm said all permanent employees based in Paisley would transfer to the new site within the next three years.

The transfer of activities is scheduled to start in 2018.

Chivas Brothers currently has 460 full-time employees at Paisley and 600 at Kilmalid.

The new facility, which is slated for completion by the end of 2019, will include a bottling hall and an office.

It lies about 13 miles from the company's Paisley base.

Chivas Brothers, which is part of drinks giant Pernod Ricard, said the plans were a response to an "extensive review" of the company's existing operations.

The company's portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine's, Beefeater Gin and The Glenlivet.

'Strong future ahead'

Chairman and chief executive Laurent Lacassagne said: "Our proposal is the next step towards achieving our leadership ambition and is a clear signal that we see a strong future ahead for both the industry and our business.

"This £40m investment will enhance and improve our operations and support the development of our global and iconic brands.

"This is a project of significant size and scale for Chivas Brothers which is why which we are announcing our proposal three years in advance.

"We want to provide ample opportunity to manage the transition of our business effectively and for our employees to adjust and adapt to working from a new site."

The Unite union, which represents about 200 employees at Chivas in Paisley, said it is concerned about the plan.

Regional officer Pat McIlvogue said: "It's fair to say that the first reaction of our members to this news was shock, closely followed by anxiety.

"We believe the company should have made an effort to talk with Unite's workplace representatives at Chivas in Paisley long before they made this huge announcement.

"The company has started a period of consultation on these proposals and we will be working with our members to get the answers they need going forward, and we will be looking for reassurances from the company around jobs, working conditions and the logistics of any proposed move."

'Boost to economy'

Scotland's Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the planned investment in the Dumbarton plant demonstrated confidence in the Scottish drinks industry and would provide a boost to the Scottish economy.

However, he added: "While it is encouraging that all employees at Paisley will be offered jobs at the new site, the loss of the Chivas site in Paisley and the effect on the local economy is clearly of concern.

"The first minister spoke to the CEO of Chivas today and the Scottish government is absolutely committed to working with the company, the local authority and local partners to do what we can to minimise local impact and explore positive opportunities for the Paisley economy for the future."

Scottish Labour MSP for Dumbarton, Jackie Baillie, said it was "fantastic news for Dumbarton and a huge vote of confidence from Chivas in our local economy".

She added: "People in Dumbarton are proud of our town's rich whisky heritage and this investment will help secure our place as a producer of Scotland's national drink for many years to come."

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