Procter & Gamble is preparing its first assault on UK kitchen and toilet paper brands Andrex and Kleenex with plans to open a new tissue factory in Manchester.
P&G has obtained planning permission from Trafford Council to build the 260,000 sq ft paper products factory next to its Pampers nappies plant.
Observers say P&G, which has no tissue brands in the UK, is likely to introduce versions of either its top US toilet roll Charmin, or, more likely, the German brand Bess.
The company is also expected to market the Bounty kitchen paper brand, which is being rolled out across continental Europe.
P&G says the Trafford site is one of a number of possibilities under consideration across Europe and a final decision is expected by May. It refuses to comment on whether it will launch paper products in the UK.
P&G’s entry into the 1bn UK paper products market will provide stiff competition for brand leader Andrex, owned by Kimberly-Clark, and Kleenex toilet roll and kitchen paper – manufactured under licence by SCA UK.
Trafford Council’s planning department has granted P&G permission to build a factory, two storage towers and a car park. The agreement lasts for five years.
It is thought P&G is planning to plough 200m into the development, which could go into production by 2001.
The company has also bought K-C’s paper plant at Orleans, France. Observers believe it will use it to produce limited supplies of its paper brands for the UK market before the Manchester factory opens.
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