ONE of Mid Cheshire's biggest employers is preparing to unveil a £2m expansion project.
Henkel will officially open its national distribution centre at Winsford Industrial Estate tomorrow (Thursday) at a lavish ceremony attended by town dignitaries, workers and business partners.
The purpose-built 109,000sq ft development marks the end of the first phase of a major project to meet the needs of the expanding business over the next five years.
It will be the company's centrepiece in Winsford, from which it will send out consumer and industrial adhesives to shops and warehouses all over the country.
While there will be no new jobs created by the expansion, the company says the move represents a major commitment to Vale Royal.
Distribution manager Helen Manley said: 'Henkel is currently the largest private employer in the town and is very aware of the importance of links to the community.
'The company is a great supporter of environmental and charitable organisations including Groundwork, the Cheshire Wildlife Fund and St Luke's Hospice, and has supported local projects such as the BMX track, the re-roofing of a Scout hut, the Basford Way Recreation Community Project and the Greenfields Park Conservation Garden.
'The requirement for the new national distribution centre and the manufacturing expansion plan is in response to growing business demands over the last eight years.
'Initially the growth was accommodated within the existing boundaries. However, to sustain the growth and maintain excellent service the expansion concept was developed.'
The new distribution centre, which was built on land next to Henkel's original Road Five headquarters, has the capacity to enable the company to meet all its storage and distribution needs from one building.
The centre currently holds 12,500 pallets, but is capable of expanding to hold 17,500 pallet locations if future growth requires the need.
Henkel's original warehouse, next door to the new building, is currently being transformed into a manufacturing facility which the company will expand should the need arise.
The company, which already employs 450 members of staff at Winsford Industrial Estate, is the number one manufacturer of detergent in Europe and the biggest name in consumer and industrial adhesives in the world. It is also a major force in the international cosmetics and hair-care market.
Brands produced at Winsford include Solvite, No More Nails, Loctite, Unibond, Pritt and Sellotape.
Ms Manley said: 'In total, more than 70 million products will be shipped annually from the new distribution centre and 85% of these products will have been manufactured at the Winsford site, too.'