PPE production starts in Grimsby thanks to Austrian investment

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A Grimsby factory will produce millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) masks to support health workers and businesses across the UK during the pandemic thanks to foreign investment secured by the Department for International Trade.

With machines installed, Hygiene Austria plan to begin mask production this week and the project will create around 60 new jobs in the area.

The company is set to produce around 10 million mouth-nose safety and FFP2-masks per month which are often used by healthcare professionals as well as coloured face masks for children.

The Department for International Trade helped Hygiene Austria collaborate with key suppliers and UK health services to meet demands for PPE, keeping trade flowing and building diverse supply chains as the nation looks to sustainable recovery from this pandemic.

Ranil Jayawardena, International Trade Minister said:

Sourcing PPE for our frontline workers is so important to this government and – through international trade and investment – it’s great that we’ve been able to help local people by creating good jobs, making vital supplies here in Britain.

Through building contacts and exploring opportunities across the country, DIT assisted Lenzing to set up facilities in Grimsby for the British market. This shows what we can do for Grimsby and is testament to our innovation and excellence in this field.

During these challenging times, DIT colleagues – both in Britain and around the globe – stand ready to help companies expand and invest, as we all work together to combat this ghastly virus.

Founded in April 2020 to produce face masks for those in need during the global pandemic, Hygiene Austria was set up as joint venture between Lenzing and Palmers Textil.

Those behind the venture say they hope it can also contribute greatly to the local economy in North East Lincolnshire by providing the vital PPE needed to ensure workplaces can keep operating.

Phil Munson, Managing Director at Grimsby said:

We are eager to play a leading role to ensure the primary health care to the UK population as a key supplier teaming up with our NHS. Moreover, we can count on highly experienced service and maintenance personnel here in Grimsby.

Although proud to work for Lenzing and its strong Austrian background, many of the team at the Grimsby plant were born locally and are keen to help in any way they can to support and strengthen the local economy. We are proud to both create jobs, support our fantastic NHS and care workers and support local businesses wherever we can.

This success story is a sign of things to come as domestic production is being ramped up across the UK. The Government recently announced a boost in domestic production with companies signing contracts to manufacture over 2 billion items of PPE in the UK, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.

The Department for International Trade alongside colleagues in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Health and Social care have been working around the clock since the outbreak began to provide PPE for our frontline workers. As the nation looks to diversify supply chains for future investment, new avenues are being unlocked to secure vital equipment in the fight against coronavirus.

Notes to editors

  • 60 new jobs are expected to be created within the next 3 months
  • Lenzing already employs 210 people at the Grimsby site.
  • Machines have been installed and are undergoing commissioning with production of masks planned for this week

About the Department for International Trade (DIT)

DIT helps businesses export, drives inward and outward investment, negotiates market access and trade deals, and champions free trade. We also secure UK and global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment.

We champion free trade by:

  • supporting and encouraging UK businesses to drive sustainable international growth
  • ensuring the UK remains a leading destination for international investment
  • opening markets, building a trade framework with new and existing partners which is free and fair
  • using trade and investment to underpin the government’s agenda for a Global Britain and its ambitions for prosperity, stability and security worldwide.

DIT support during Coronavirus

The Government is supporting businesses and employees through a package of measures to help manage the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19). These measures include financial support packages for businesses, support for employees’ wages and Export Insurance Policy (EXIP). Visit the Business Support website for more information about these additional measures and find guidance here for UK businesses trading internationally.

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