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 Up to 87 new jobs could be created at Hull vehicle bodybuilder Paneltex after the business benefited from a Growing the Humber grant and business loan from the Humber LEP.

The LEP’s Investment Panel agreed a grant of £141,000, which will fund equipment such as forklifts and lifting machinery, and will help create 13 new machine operative roles.

In addition to the grant, a loan of up to £470,000, approved at the Humber LEP’s November Board meeting, will support an extra 74 new jobs as the company sets to expand the services they have on offer due to increased demand for delivery vehicles due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Founded in Hull in 1991, Paneltex are a commercial, refrigerated and specialist vehicle bodybuilder, with four production sites, including their main site on the Kingston International Business Park in East Hull.

The funding was provided as part of the LEP’s Growing the Humber Scheme, (2) which was funded through an allocation of £4m from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

Managing Director of Paneltex, Chris Berridge, said: “The grant and loan from the Humber LEP has come at an important time for Paneltex and has enabled us to establish an additional manufacturing site in Hull dedicated to export products whilst allowing us simultaneously to expand our main factory to increase output for UK sales.

“The coronavirus pandemic is a worldwide problem and has certainly changed the shape of our business, both in the UK and for our growing export markets. We have had to react hard and fast to respond to this in a challenging working environment and the support from the LEP has been greatly appreciated.”

Stephen Parnaby OBE, Chair of the Humber LEP, said: “We’re really pleased to offer Paneltex this grant and business loan. The proposed 87 new jobs is not an insignificant number and is especially needed at a time when people have lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic.

“We want Hull and East Riding businesses to know that grant funding is available if they have capital investment needs that could result in new or safeguarded jobs, or their businesses becoming more efficient and increasing productivity. Our business loans are also available to businesses across the Humber with expansion plans.”

If your business is in Hull or East Yorkshire, find out more about the Growing Hull and East Yorkshire business investment grant funding by clicking here.