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9 October, 2020 - 21:35 By Tony Quested

Philips Avent manufacturing site bought by Malaysian group

Philips has sold its former Avent manufacturing facility in Glemsford, Suffolk to GCB Cocoa UK Limited, a subsidiary of the Guan Chong Berhad (GCB) Group. The Malaysian company will use the facility to manufacture its cocoa products.

Set across 17 acres (7 hectares), the scheme comprises 300,126 sq ft (27,882 sq m) of modern industrial space. 

Michael Holt, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, said: “We welcome this announcement which secures the future for manufacturing in the region. 

“This site not only provides opportunities for employment in Glemsford and the surrounding Sudbury area but also supports our vision to attract new businesses and grow the economy in Babergh.”

Phil Dennis, director in the business space team at Savills Chelmsford, who advised on the deal said: “The Glemsford site offered a rare opportunity to acquire a large freehold facility with manufacturing capabilities already in place. Working with New Anglia LEP and Babergh District Council we are very pleased to have retained the site for industrial use, proving there remains significant demand from industrial occupiers despite ongoing uncertainty.”

C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, says: “This is really fantastic news, especially in the current economic climate, and a ringing endorsement of the region’s attractiveness to investors from overseas.

“The Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited brand was launched with the objective of enticing businesses to set up or expand their operations here. The decision of the GCB Group to locate its cocoa production facility here and take over a vacant site is a win-win for the whole area.

“This will ensure the premises at Glemsford remain in use and sustain much-needed job opportunities for the local workforce.”

Guan Chong Berhad was incorporated in Malaysia as a public company in 2004 and listed on Main Market of Bursa Malaysia the following year. The Group is principally involved in the manufacturing of cocoa-derived food ingredients, namely cocoa mass, cocoa butter, cocoa cake and cocoa powder.

In August 2019, GCB announced its investment in a new cocoa processing plant in Cote D’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producing country. The new plant is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2021.

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