Agristo injects new life into the former Unilin site in Wielsbeke
The Belgian firm Agristo has bought the former company premises of Unilin in Wielsbeke. The producer of pre-fried and deep-frozen potato products takes the next step forward in the expansion of its production capacity. The premises they buy consist of a plot of land of 25 hectares that, in the long run, will receive a completely new destination: new buildings for production units, storage facilities and a green belt.
"The worldwide market of deep-frozen potato products is expanding rapidly, and so is our company. That's why there is an acute need of expansion at the moment", says Filip Wallays, Agristo's commercial director. "Since we have these new possibilities for expansion in Wielsbeke, the further growth of our production capacity in Harelbeke is no longer under discussion. We will however try to integrate the current site in Harelbeke as well as possible in the new plans." With this 100 million investment the company confirms its steady growth and wants to increase capacity by 50 % by the end of 2017. When developing the new site Agristo intends to set the tone in matters of efficiency, sustainability and ecology; thus the company will actively put a lot of work into implementing several sustainable business practices.
Employment and sustainability
This considerable expansion of production capacity will entail a lot of extra jobs; because of the strong growth, employment in production and administration will keep increasing. Presently the firm employs about 450 people and there are 20 more vacancies to be filled in. The new production unit means another 100 extra jobs. Agristo is concerned about its ecological footprint. The Dutch site in Tilburg is already using multimodal transport. At 1 kilometre of this Agristo production unit in the Netherlands, Barge Terminal Tilburg (BTT) is situated along the Wilhelmina canal.
""In the future we want to keep using this sustainable transport system. In view of the new terminal in Wielsbeke, a lot of opportunities are created", concludes Filip Wallays. If all goes well, we plan to start building the new site mid 2016.