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Wed June 29 2022

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Chip shortage delays brickworks upgrade

24 May The planned £27m refurbishment of a Staffordshire brick works has been delayed because of a global shortage of semi-conductors and chips.

Forterra's Wilnecote brick factory
Forterra's Wilnecote brick factory

Building materials producer Forterra was planning to temporarily shut down its Wilnecote brick factory at the end of June for refurbishment works.

However it is now putting back the shut-down and project start to the end of September, a three-month delay.

The company said that delaying by three months would “de-risk” the refurbishment project, given the global supply chain issues limiting the availability of semi-conductors and chips used in the factory’s robotic equipment.

The duration of the project remains unchanged, with the factory closing for 12 months.

However, construction of Forterra’s new £95m brick factory in Desford, near Leicester, remains on course for commissioning by the end of the year – on time and on budget, the company said. The new Desford plant is expected to add £25m to annual Ebitda by 2025.

Forterra also reports strong trading over the past four months, with group revenue 25% ahead of 2021 and 18% ahead of 2019. Brick volumes are 6% ahead of both last year and 2019.

While energy costs have gone up, this burden is being passed on to customers. Forterra brick prices went up 16% at the start of the year and another 12% last year.

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