A JAPANESE electrical giant is to create 100 jobs over the next three years under plans to turn the company’s Lothian base into a world-class research centre.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation today celebrated two decades of manufacturing air conditioners out of its Livingston facility by confirming it would invest an extra £20 million into the base.
The company, which has offices and a factory at the Houstoun Industrial Estate in Nettlehill Road, already employs 450 people, and it is understood the additional jobs will go to residents from Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Mitsubishi executive officer Dr Kazuhiko Tsutsumi said the company was working closely with Heriot-Watt University, adding: “We anticipate that Scotland’s excellent universities will provide a highly educated pool of talent that we hope to attract to support our future expansion.”
The region is still reeling from the closure of the Hall’s of Broxburn meat processing factory. Dutch owner Vion shut the plant’s doors earlier this year, with 1700 jobs lost.
West Lothian’s unemployment rate of 4.1 per cent as of April this year is higher than both the Scottish (four per cent) and UK (3.7 per cent) figures.
Hiroyuki Umemura, president of Mitsubishi’s living environment and digital media equipment group, said: “We aim to be industry leaders in the production of environmentally friendly, high efficiency, high quality products and services to our customers. In order to achieve this, our site in Livingston will play a very important role as a supply base in Europe for air conditioning and renewable energy heating products and this 20th anniversary is an important milestone.”
Japanese officials travelled to Livingston this morning to open two custom-built test houses next to the Mitsubishi factory. Renewable air-to-water heat pumps are among hi-tech products being developed out of the Scottish base. The company has also relocated its European research and design centre to Livingston as part of long-term plans to create a centre of design excellence.
Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The government’s target of 100 per cent of electricity demand to be met from renewables by 2020 makes Scotland an ideal proving ground for advanced renewable energy technologies.”
Cathy Muldoon, executive councillor for development and transport in West Lothian, said: “We expect that this will bring with it new high quality jobs to our area as well as position West Lothian at the forefront of development in renewable technology.”