Global retail giant to create European hub in Birmingham

Y International invests £15 million in city’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub, creating 80 new jobs.

Y International, a subsidiary belonging to billion pound retail giant LuLu Group International, has confirmed a £15 million investment in a new 124,000 sq ft European headquarters in Birmingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub, creating 80 new jobs.

The Middle Eastern heavyweight will process, package and export some 10,000 different products from the Midlands to over 160 hypermarkets across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Far East. A delegation from the Group’s global Abu Dhabi headquarters – including Director of Y International and Lulu Group International Mr Mohamed Althaf – visited Birmingham today, officially confirming the latest deal in a wave of foreign investment into the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.

Y International represent the fourth investment project secured at the AMH. The site has already attracted German tool manufacturer Guhring, which opened its £12 million UK headquarters there earlier this year; and HydraForce – a US hydraulics manufacturer, whose 120,000 sq ft factory opened in 2015. Salts Healthcare recently agreed to take the Hub’s 94,500 sq ft ‘Apollo’ building, bringing the total number of jobs created by the AMH to over 1,400.

The move into the AMH followed the purchasing of land from Homes England and Birmingham City Council, in a deal secured by Savills. Inward Investment agency Business Birmingham is supporting the transition, whilst advisors on the deal include JLL, Freeths and Coltham Developments.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “The decision to make the Advanced Manufacturing Hub LuLu Group’s European headquarters is fantastic news for the region. Increasing levels of foreign investment from global companies like this is testament to not only the strength of Birmingham’s industrial legacy, but proof that the current strategy to grow the economy and create high-quality local jobs is working.

“The city’s strong track record in attracting investment has only been made possible by close, collaborative working across the private and public sectors, with organisations such as the Department for International Trade proving invaluable in bringing investment into the region.

“Y International’s presence here will reinforce Birmingham’s position as a key gateway to the rest of the UK and European markets, and has the potential to generate further interest from across the Middle East”.

Karl Tupling, General Manager for the Midlands for Homes England, added: “Homes England has played a vital role in land assembly, demolition and remediation to bring land forward for commercial development at the successful Advanced Manufacturing Hub. This in turn is reinforcing Birmingham as a location for high value manufacturing, so it’s great to see Y International joining the growing list of companies investing in world class facilities at the Advanced Manufacturing Hub, providing skilled manufacturing jobs for local people”.

Y International works with a wide range of businesses from across the country, transporting UK products 3,000 miles to the Gulf States and further afield. Its suppliers include Lovemore. a gluten free, baked goods company from Aberdare, Wales; Somerset based The Traditional Free Range Egg Company; and Mission Foods, which produces flatbreads in Coventry. Spearheaded by its retail division, LuLu Group’s portfolio includes hypermarkets, shopping malls, trading, shipping, IT, travel & tourism and education. The company has an annual turnover in excess of US $6.9 billion (£5.2 billion).

Tony Perks, Director of Operations at Y International UK, commented: “Birmingham has created the ideal base for Y International, forming an integral part of LuLu Group’s European expansion plans. When comparing potential locations, Birmingham offered a cost-effective and well-connected location, as well as readily-available, high quality space, making our decision easy.

“The acquisition of the land at the Advanced Manufacturing Hub gives Y International the opportunity to construct a large purpose-built production facility. This will enable the company to increase sales and is expected to result in an increase in staff from the existing 160 to 240, all recruited from the local area.”

The AMH is one of six Economic Zones in the city established by Birmingham City Council, designed to accelerate growth specifically within the advanced manufacturing sector by offering incentives such as simplified planning, gap funding and recruitment support.

The region’s advanced manufacturing sector remains a key component of its inward investment strategy. More foreign businesses invested in the West Midlands in 2016/17 than anywhere outside London and the South East, according to the Department for International Trade’s latest figures. The region created 6,570 new jobs and attracted a total of 151 new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects from key target markets including the US, Germany, China and India.