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Companies supplying Britain's biggest washing machine maker are creating more than 200 jobs in North Wales.

Three suppliers yesterday announced a £16m investment to produce parts for the Merloni plant at Kinmel Park.

It assembles almost a million Hotpoint machines a year.

The latest investment and productivity improvements by the Italian-owned company will almost treble speed of production of Hotpoint Vogue 4 machines at the plant - from one every 38 seconds to one every 14 seconds.

Marco Milani, chief executive of Merloni Elettrodomestici UK, said: "Merloni is committed to manufacturing in the UK.

"We are enormously proud of our Kinmel Park factory and are delighted that this investment will see us continue to operate one of the most efficient washing machine factories in Europe and the largest in the UK.

"We value the contribution suppliers have made to our success and we will continue to invest in our design and production facilities to build our market share in the UK."

The suppliers include Tech-noplast, part of an Italian-owned group, which produces moulded plastic components for the industry.

They will spend £10.5m setting up production at Kinmel Park, creating 133 local jobs.

Another Italian-owned company, Pasell, is investing £5m to make counterweights at a site in Sandycroft, Flintshire, employing 68 staff.

Tuscarora, part of Sweden's SCA Global Packaging Group, is investing almost £1m to make packaging material on site, employing a further 15 people.

The new operations received assistance from the Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Development Agency whose staff in North Wales and in Italy worked with Merloni to promote investment at Kinmel Park.

Welsh economic minister Andrew Davies, who met company executives near Bodelwyddan yesterday, said: "It's good to see large international companies investing in Wales.

"It's a huge boost of confidence in the Bodelwyddan plant and its quality and skilled workforce."

Merloni, whose brands include Indesit and Hotpoint, is now Europe's third biggest manufacturer of washing machines and domestic appliances.

Its employs 6,000 people in the UK after the take-over of General Domestic Appliances, former owners of the Kinmel Park plant. Now a £60m three-year investment programme is being undertaken to expand production at its four UK factories.

Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones said: "Merloni is a key employer in the local area and this announcement is a tribute to our success in attracting manufacturing industry to invest in North Wales.

"This is a big vote of confidence in the workforce.,"

From ic North Wales

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