Thorn’s Spennymoor Factory Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony
3rd September 2007
· Zumtobel Group makes a long-term commitment to Spennymoor
Although ground was actually broken last month, today marked the official groundbreaking ceremony for Thorn Lighting’s new purpose-built factory in Spennymoor, County Durham.
Andreas Ludwig and Thomas Spitzenpfeil, CEO and CFO respectively of the Zumtobel Group, Thorn’s Austrian parent company, wielded the ceremonial spades and were joined by dozens of multi-agency partners and community members, including representatives from One North East, County Durham Development Company (CDDC), County and District Council officials and Helen Goodman MP for Bishop Auckland.
The participants ceremoniously dug the first foundation for the 40,000 sq. m facility at the Green Lane Industrial Estate, where the new plant is to be based. Production is scheduled to transfer from the existing site in nearby Merrington Lane, which Thorn has occupied since the early fifties, in autumn 2008, Thorn’s 80th year in business.
CEO Andreas Ludwig emphasized the importance for the Group: “This plant will make it possible for Zumtobel to manufacture on-site in the Group’s largest single market with modern, efficient and flexible facilities. It represents our greatest operational challenge for the coming financial year, underlines our commitment to the UK and supports our strategy of retaining production as close to the customer as possible”.
When completed the £28m development, which will be leased by Thorn Lighting Ltd, will build the basis of a strong future for both Thorn, and its sister company TridonicAtco, which produces lighting components at Spennymoor. The state-of-the-art facility will include an additional investment of £1.3m in the Thorn brand for establishing an Academy of Light – a training centre for customers and employees from around Europe. As local authorities have already confirmed, the Merrington Lane site will subsequently be sold and re-developed for residential housing.
Commenting on the start of construction, Gary Hodgson, Operations Director of Thorn UK, said: "People have been looking forward to see tangible progress on this project, and today we have rewarded their enthusiasm. Our aim is to replace a sprawling complex with a modern, lean and flexible successor. We will build the future of Thorn Lighting in the UK”.
The GMI Construction Group is project managing and constructing the new plant.