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Knauf boosts glass mineral wool output

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MINERAL wool insulation producer Knauf Insulation is to speed up its expansion plans following the failure of its bid to buy rival producer Superglass.

Knauf is considering its position following the failed bid but has drawn up alternative investment plans.

The deal was turned down by the Competition Commission last year. Now Knauf plans to accelerate its planned £60 million cash injection to boost its glass mineral wool production.

The firm aims to double output at its St Helens plant in Merseyside to 60,000 tonnes a year and will increase production at its Cwmbran plant in south Wales to 90,000 tonnes.

This increased capacity will help satisfy the increased demand for glass mineral wool brought on by changes in energy efficiency and sound insulation regulations.

The extra 30,000 tonnes-a-year capacity at the St Helens plant will be available from October 2005 but the Cwmbran plant will not begin production until 2007.The specialist producer will also continue with plans to expand its polystyrene insulation plant at St Helens.

Knauf Insulation chief executive officer Tony Robson said: 'Our investments are not without risk but are based on expected market growth.We have been assessing options for overcoming the shortage of glass mineral wool insulation and this move will ensure customers benefit from additional capacity.'