Bren­ntag pledge to keep on in­vest­ing in the UK de­spite Brexit.

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS - Greg Wright DEPUTY BUSI­NESS EDI­TOR @greg­wrightyp

The boss of the world’s big­gest chem­i­cal dis­tri­bu­tion firm said he plans to keep in­vest­ing in its UK op­er­a­tions as Britain pre­pares for Brexit.

Steve Hol­land, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ger­man head­quar­tered Bren­ntag, pre­dicted that ma­jor global man­u­fac­tur­ing firms will still be keen to es­tab­lish op­er­a­tions in the UK af­ter Britain leaves the Euro­pean Union. Mr Hol­land, who was born in Brad­ford, made the com­ments as he vis­ited Bren­ntag’s UK head of­fice in Leeds.

Bren­ntag, which em­ploys around 900 peo­ple in Britain, plans to in­vest £50m in the UK in the com­ing years.

The York­shire Mr Hol­land told

Post: “The Leeds and Brad­ford area pro­vides us with all the nec­es­sary skill sets that we need to drive the busi­ness in the UK. He added: “We’re very happy to sup­port the UK to grow its busi­ness even fur­ther by ac­qui­si­tions, as well as in­vest­ing in the in­fras­truc­ture based in the UK.”

Bren­ntag is the global leader in its sec­tor with a 5.9 per cent mar­ket share and sales of 10.5bn eu­ros in 2016.

It em­ploys around 15,000 staff in 74 coun­tries. Bren­ntag UK and Ire­land recorded rev­enue of £321m in 2016.

On the sub­ject of Brexit, Mr Hol­land said: “I don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen in terms of the pol­i­tics of all this.

“But, fun­da­men­tally, the UK is very im­por­tant for over­seas man­u­fac­tur­ers. It’s a so­phis­ti­cated mar­ket. It’s a mar­ket we as a com­pany re­ally be­lieve in and that is why we’re in­vest­ing.

“There is some amazing tech­nol­ogy, some amazing man­u­fac­tur­ing and some amazing in­no­va­tion in the UK, which is re­ally sought af­ter by over­seas buy­ers.”

Mr Hol­land said the UK must take a more pos­i­tive view of its prospects.

He added: “As English peo­ple, we are not the first to shout out about how great we are. I per­son­ally would like to see peo­ple shout a bit more about how suc­cess­ful the UK is and what we’ve got to of­fer.”

Mr Hol­land, who stud­ied chem­istry at Leeds Univer­sity, be­came the CEO of Bren­ntag, which is based in Es­sen, Ger­many in 2011. Ear­lier in his ca­reer, he held se­nior roles at Hays Chem­i­cal Dis­tri­bu­tion and Al­bion Chem­i­cals be­fore he joined the Bren­ntag group board in 2007.

Mr Hol­land said the UK busi­ness had a very strong mar­ket share and he wanted to see it de­velop its spe­cial­ity chem­i­cals port­fo­lio, in ar­eas that could im­prove cos­met­ics and per­sonal care.

He added: “Where there are com­pa­nies that meet that type of port­fo­lio, and are at­trac­tive, we as a com­pany will be very sup­port­ive of the UK in try­ing to de­velop those op­por­tu­ni­ties as they arise.”

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