A Turkey-based sustainable building materials company is set to launch its first UK manufacturing site at Stowmarket's Gateway 14 - along with a new office in Ipswich.

Assan Panel - an affiliate of Kibar Holding - is investing up to £45m in the new facility off the A14 - which benefits from being part of Freeport East.

The firm - which is a market leader in the sector - plans to create around 100 highly skilled jobs in the town.

Both Freeport East and Assan Panel say they hope the investment will act as a "positive signal" to other companies as the UK and Turkey discuss an enhanced Free Trade Agreement.

Subject to planning approval Assan Panel managing director İhsan Tolga Akar said he hoped to have the new plant operational by autumn 2025.

The firm - which exports to 85 countries from Turkey - plans to launch a new office in Ipswich to cater the UK market as part of its investment.

The multi-million-pound facility - which will be manned by a skilled workforce - will manufacture sandwich panels filled with Polyisocyanurate (PIR), mineral wool, or polyurethane – critical components in constructing sustainable and eco-friendly buildings.

Freeport East chief executive Steve Beel said: “This announcement represents a real milestone in strengthening the presence of green industry in and around the Stowmarket and wider Freeport East area.

"As well as direct job creation, the investment will provide opportunities to build strong local research and development relationships with universities and drive the development of the skills and innovation cluster at Gateway 14.

“With close proximity to the Port of Felixstowe and the flexibility of the freeport customs model, locating in Freeport East provides Assan Panel with the ideal base from which to serve both UK and European markets. We are confident this is a model that will encourage other international manufacturers to consider Freeport East as a future strategic location.”

Kibar Holding chief executive Haluk Kayabaşı said the company - which previously ramped up its overseas presence with investments in Jordan and and Azerbaijan - aimed to strengthen its presence in the European market with the new Stowmarket facility.

East Anglian Daily Times:

"Kibar Holding, one of the leading groups of the Turkish industry, under which Assan Panel operates, is taking firm steps forward on its globalisation journey with its unabated investment moves," he said. 

"By making a difference with the innovative, pioneering, sustainable, energy-efficient products we offer, we serve for the transition in European sandwich panel market for sustainable solutions, and now with more concentration in the UK."

Minister for investment at the Department for Business and Trade Lord Dominic Johnson and minister for levelling up Jacob Young welcomed the deal.

"Assan Panel's investment underscores Freeport East’s outstanding offer to businesses operating in green industries, and will create new, skilled jobs in the region," said Lord Johnson.

"UK Freeports are perfect places for businesses to innovate, collaborate and grow. This news highlights Freeport East’s exceptional opportunities which underpin their vision of a global hub for trade and investment into advanced manufacturing and green energy."

Suffolk County Councillor Richard Smith, who is cabinet member for economic development, Skills, Transport Strategy and Waste, said it was "excellent news".

"This is a substantial investment which will create many new local jobs and be a significant boost for Suffolk’s manufacturing sector, and I would like to commend the joint inward investment and Freeport East teams for their important role in securing it,” he said.

Gateway 14 - East Anglia's largest business park - is owned by Mid Suffolk District Council which works with development partner Jaynic.