Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire-based JCB announces £20m of UK investment

Staffordshire firm JCB has said it will invest £20m in its UK factories over the coming year.

The firm, based in Rocester, made the announcement as it marked its 65th anniversary.

A spokesman said the money would be spread among its 11 UK plants and would be used to buy more equipment and recruit 50 staff.

It said demand from countries such as Brazil, Russia and India, where construction is growing, had surged.

In Brazil, the manufacturing construction firm has experienced 65% growth, in Russia 165% growth and in India, which is the digger maker's biggest single market, it experienced 53% growth in the past 12 months and has invested £20m in a new engine plant there.

'Looking up'

In the UK, JCB has developed 13 new excavating machines with increased steering control, and is re-hiring workers it said it was forced to lay off in the earlier stages of the British economic downturn in 2009.

Shop floor worker Chris Prince was laid off two years ago but was re-hired at the start of 2011.

He said: "Obviously it was gutting to be laid off at the time but obviously things are looking up."

Image caption JCB gave staff a bottle of wine, two glasses and a DVD of its history, to mark its 65th anniversary

JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said: "I'm particularly pleased because we are coming out of a recession, the worst recession we have ever known.

"I'm not saying things look rosy now, but things certainly look better."

The company reported on Tuesday that it had more than doubled its earnings in 2010 compared to 2009.

And global sales in 2010 increased by 48%.

Staffordshire County Councillor Jeff Morrison said the success of JCB was crucial for the economic well-being of the people of Uttoxeter, where the company began in a garden shed 65 years ago.

Mr Morrison said: "Funnily enough, 18 months before the recession started it was actually at a boom time. The disposable income of the workers was at a massive high, there were people really spending money and the town gets the money spent in it, it filters through, it cascades through the economics of Uttoxeter .

"Of course when that dried up the town sort of went into hibernation and it's only now starting to pick up."

'Quite an anniversary'

Sir Anthony added: "The economy in the UK is definitely getting better- certainly our customers are more buoyant, happier than they were at the beginning of last year.

"I have now been here in this business for 47 years so I have been through a few recessions in my time and it's been traumatic for us."

JCB has 11 factories outside the UK and employs about 7,000 staff in total who each received a bottle of wine, two glasses and a DVD about the company's history, as a thank you from JCB to mark its 65th anniversary.

Workers in India were given an alternative to wine.

"Sixty-five is quite an anniversary for the business, I think it's worth marking and also actually saying thank you to our employees round the world, who've been with us through the years and the months through good times and bad times," he said.

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