A POULTRY firm aims to create up to 50 jobs when it opens its first UK plant in Wrexham.
At first 20 staff will be taken on by Annyalla Chicks, based in County Monaghan in Ireland when it begins production at the former Delta Foods factory on the town's industrial estate.
It aims to provide 600,000 chicks a year for the meat industry and could move to Wrexham in November.
The family-run company says a further 30 jobs could be created when it eventually steps up to full production of one-and-a-half million chicks over the next two to three years.
Speaking from its base in Castleblayney, John Mawer, who runs the business with his father and other family members, said Annyalla had spent 18 months looking for a UK base to meet growing demand.
After considering a number of possible locations, the company eventually took out a long-term lease on the old Delta factory in Abenbury Road last October.
Since then it had been carrying out a major renovation of the building, he said.
It had been vacant since Delta, which produced frozen airline food, went into receivership in 2004.
Annyalla will initially be using about half of the factory’s 85,000 square feet and could take over the entire building as production increases.
Mr Mawer said: “We have big customer bases in Shropshire and Yorkshire, so we were initially looking for somewhere close to the M6 or M62 but we chose Wrexham because of this particular building.
“Having already been a food factory it had a number of advantages, such as the right drainage system already being in place.
“However, we have still had to do an awful lot of work on it.
“We have tried to utilise as much as we could but I’d say it has been 80 per cent gutted and rebuilt from scratch, including laying new floors.”
He added: “The location is also good as we can bring in our eggs from Ireland through Holyhead.
“At the moment we source our eggs from 40 farms in Ireland but we could eventually use farms in the UK, particularly Wrexham.
“But that could be hard as the farms require high levels of investment to produce the eggs.”