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JCB announces £20M investment

JCB has said it will invest £20M in its UK factories this year to keep pace with a boom in demand from the so-called emerging markets.

The construction machinery firm plans to buy more equipment and recruit around 50 engineers to increase production and develop products at its 11 plants in the UK.

Based in Rocester, Staffordshire, JCB also reported that its earnings increased by 149% to £235M in 2010 and sales were up 48% to £2bn, as it recovered from a dip in sales caused by the recession.

Demand has surged from countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, where construction business is rapidly growing.

Sales in the UK and Ireland were up by about 20% as its big-name customers, such as merchant Travis Perkins, defied the construction industry downturn.

The company shed 1,800 staff as construction projects across the globe were postponed but staffing levels have since returned to the pre-recession levels of 9,000.

As well as investing in the UK, JCB is building a factory in Brazil.

The company was started 65 years ago in a garage in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, by Joseph Cyril Bamford, whose initials the company bears.

The family-owned firm has factories in China, India, the US, Germany and Brazil but most of its staff work in the UK in plants in Cheadle near Stoke-on-Trent, Rugeley in Staffordshire, Wrexham and in Foston near Derby.

Chief executive Alan Blake said: “British manufacturing has a quality reputation around the world. We are successfully manufacturing in the UK and selling around the world, and we think the UK is a good place to do business, with a hugely skilled workforce.”

The company said its success was due to its continued investment in new products, such as a more fuel-efficient digger which is proving popular since its launch last year.

JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said JCB is “on the threshold of even greater success” and 2011 has started well for the group.

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