JCB branches out into Brazil
PRIME Minister David Cameron hailed digger-maker JCB a "great British brand" – as he opened its new £60 million factory in Brazil.
The 350,000 square foot plant at Sorocaba, near Sao Paulo, will provide £100 million a year in orders for components from JCB's factories in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wales.
The opening came just a day after The Sentinel revealed that the manufacturer had laid off around 110 agency workers at its World Headquarters in Rocester.
In July, 200 agency employees were released with JCB blaming continuing global economic uncertainty.
Mr Cameron was visiting Brazil to boost UK trade links with one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
He said: "Here we are in JCB, a great British brand now expanding in Brazil.
"That's going to mean £100 million of extra orders from the UK and that's good for British jobs, tying us to the fast growing economies of the future."
Mr Cameron was shown round the factory by JCB chairman and substantial Tory party donor Sir Anthony Bamford, who was commissioned to prepare a report on manufacturing for the Government.
Asked if he was taking up the report's recommendations, Mr Cameron said: "Yes, many of them I think are absolutely spot-on.
"We need to cut corporation tax in Britain, which we are doing, to help business and to locate more business in Britain.
"We need to invest in apprenticeships so we have got the skills we need, which we are doing in Britain. And we need to encourage research and development through the tax system, which we are doing in Britain.
"Sir Anthony is one of the leading industrialists in Britain.
"JCB is an extraordinary brand and success story and we should listen to what he is saying about how to rebalance and rebuild manufacturing and engineering in Britain.
"He is someone I listen to very carefully."
The Sentinel reported last year that JCB was investing around £60 million in its new Brazilian plant.
In May, it landed a £60 million contract for more than 1,000 machines from the Brazilian government.
Bosses hope the new plant will help it secure some of the upcoming £20 billion of infrastructure projects in the country as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
Sir Anthony said: "JCB is a British company.
"We are very proud to be a leading exporter of British-made products.
"But to be a true global company we need to manufacture in the markets which really matter in the world, such as Brazil."
JCB employs around 6,300 people in the UK, including more than 5,000 in Staffordshire.