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Caithness.org News Bulletins -  November 2002

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Up to 300 jobs to be created

AEA Technology (AEAT), the science and engineering company, today announced plans to open a £3 million Technology Centre in Scotland with immediate plans for 96 jobs and the potential for up to 300 jobs over the next 5 years.

The Centre will be based at Glengarnock, near Glasgow, and will become the Headquarters in Scotland of AEAT’s Rail, Environment and intellectual property (IP) business, Accentus.

It will also be the manufacturing centre for AEAT Battery Systems’ battery charger business. The Battery Systems business already has a multi-million pound contract to supply batteries and chargers for the Ministry of Defence’s communications programme “Bowman”.

The Technology Centre is scheduled to open in Autumn 2003, creating an initial tranche of up to 100 jobs over the first three years. AEAT believes it is important to build a strong business base in Scotland - the company’s Battery Systems business is already located in Scotland, at Thurso in Caithness.

Glengarnock was selected as the site for the new Centre because of the high technical skills base of the local population and its excellent transport links.

Andrew McCree, AEAT’s Group Managing Director, said:

“The Scottish Executive has announced in its spending plans significant investment in railway infrastructure. It has also given a high priority to improving the Scottish environment. AEAT is the number one provider of technology to the rail industry in the rest of the country. It is also the leading provider to Westminster government of environmental science and technology.”

“The Executive has also clearly signalled that it wants to give industrial priority to companies that have a vision for achieving a "Smart, Successful Scotland." AEAT is a smart company that sees good reasons and prospects for investing in Scotland.”

The first phase of the project, which has been supported with a Regional Selective Assistance grant of £900,000, was won for Scotland by Scottish Development International, the joint Scottish Executive / Scottish Enterprise agency working in partnership with Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire.

Brian Wilson MP, Minister for Energy and Construction, and MP for Cunninghame North which includes Glengarnock, said:

"Securing this project for Glengarnock is the best piece of industrial news in the area for many years. The potential is absolutely enormous. And AEA Technology's decision to choose Glengarnock will also attract the interest of other high value investors.

"I know AEAT very well, and know that the jobs they bring to Glengarnock will be of high quality. They will also be excellent corporate citizens within the wider community".

Allan Wilson MSP for Cunninghame North and Scottish Deputy Environment Minister said:

"AEAT is the right company in the right place at the right time. The industrial areas in which AEAT operate fit very closely with the priorities of Labour and the Scottish Executive for the future of our economy. It is magnificent news that Glengarnock is to be at the forefront of these initiatives."

AEA Technology
AEA Technology has an established base in Scotland through its Battery Systems business which is based in Thurso. Its two core businesses are Rail and Environment. The Company last year reported turnover of £334.4 million.

AEAT Rail and Environment
AEAT Rail is widely recognised as a leading supplier of technology, consultancy and policy advice. As part of its growth plans, it is broadening its regional focus and establishing closer commercial links with the rail industry in Scotland.

AEAT Environment is currently one of Europe’s largest environmental consultancy businesses and is the leading provider of policy advice and practical science to the UK Government. Following the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, AEAT Environment now wishes to establish a significant base in Scotland from which to provide services and advice to the Scottish Executive and Scottish industry.

AEAT Battery Systems and Accentus
AEAT Battery Systems is a world leader in high performance batteries. Its Kaizen Li-ion cell leads the market in terms of temperature performance, cycle life, power output and method of construction. Thurso will remain its headquarters and centre for cell production as it continues to broaden its product range.  AEAT’s emerging intellectual property business, Accentus, owns a number of world-leading, patent-protected technologies. These include the means to destroy chemical weapons and the use of plasma to eliminate the emissions of potentially carcinogenic particulates from diesel engines.