THE long-term future of a major Bradford manufacturing plant has been secured through a multi-million investment in technology and processes by its German owners.

Chemical giant BASF has opened a new bio-acrylamide production plant at its Low Moor site, which employs around 600 people.

It follows a three year transformation programme at BASF, which bought the former Allied Colloids site from Ciba in 2009.

Peter Wormald, site director, said: "This is the largest ever investment at the Bradford site and is a major milestone, giving us a world class operation. It confirms BASF's belief in the site and its product range and is a key moment in our journey towards profitable growth.

"Three years ago we faced the stark reality that the site was uncompetitive and this led to a major restructuring programme involving new technology, better health and safety, reliability improvements and increasing capacity. It also involved around 170 redundancies which were necessary to ensure Bradford was globally competitive.

"The complete organisational restructure of the site has followed more than a year's negotiation with unions and today there are no jobs the same as they were three years ago.

"This major development is based on knowledge developed here n Bradford,which BASF invested in and which has culminated in this very significant development."

Richard J Carter, BASF UK managing director, added that the global giant was committed to Bradford and described it as a flagship operation.

He praised the flexibility of the workforce and the quality of research in the project, saying: "In Bradford, great people are doing great things. The new plant is a shining example of the capabilities of the site."

Mr Carter called for Britain to remain in the UK, saying BASF needed stable economic conditions and regulations. The company exported chemicals from Bradford and imported raw materials and benefited from the EU single market.

"BASF believes the UK will be better off by staying in the EU," he said.

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins said: “I particularly welcome BASF’s commitment to this site in a community where the company has a long history and strong relationships.

"The plant itself is remarkable but I have also been particularly impressed by the partnership working the GMB trade union and the company’s strong advocacy of apprenticeships and training.

"Bradford is a place that makes things and with investments like this, will continue to do so for many years to come.

"It’s really encouraging to know that ideas from this part of the world have developed into a technology of global significance."