A SCOTTISH steelwork specialist has hailed the acquisition of a crane manufacturing company and a planned £6 million investment in the site.

Ayrshire-based J & D Pierce expects to create about 100 jobs in late 2021 after buying out the former Konecranes factory in South Lanarkshire.

J & D Pierce has agreed to purchase the 300,000 sq ft plant along with 14 acres of yard space at the College Milton site in East Kilbride for an undisclosed sum.

Recruitment will soon take place for both manufacturing and office staff, and it is expected some of the workers made redundant from the site in the last year will apply.

Cranes have been built in the facility, which employed 80, for more than 60 years.

The plant also provides greater opportunity for the expansion of J & D Pierce’s road and rail manufacturing division with the facility becoming the headquarters of its Strubeam business, which specialises in the manufacture of bridges and heavy plated fabrication.

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Derek Pierce, J & D Pierce managing director, said: “We have purchased the building and land and secured a long-term sub-contract agreement with Konecranes.

“This is a great step forward for J & D Pierce and Strubeam and we hope to create a positive impact in the community in East Kilbride.”

The site’s restructuring and refurbishment has already started.

HeraldScotland: Derek Pierce, who is managing director of the Ayrshire-based firm.Derek Pierce, who is managing director of the Ayrshire-based firm.

Mr Pierce said it is a “huge investment”.

“The building is much larger than it needs to be for crane manufacture, so that is going to be our new Strubeam business headquarters,” said Mr Pierce. “Over and above the deal we will be investing £6 million in new plant and machinery and upgrading.”

He added: “We do know that a lot of the people who were made redundant will be applying for jobs.

“We are doing recruitment over March and then into production at the beginning of April. We are happy to step in, it has been a long negotiation with Konecranes but we’ve secured a long-term deal supplying all the manufacture and assembly of the overhead cranes. It is a brilliant fit and a brilliant acquisition for our business.”

The Glengarnock-based firm, which worked on Boeing’s new site at Gatwick Airport and the £150m revamp of Queen Street Station in Glasgow, remained open throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Pierce said: “The infrastructure side of the business is very busy.

“The distribution and warehouses market is also huge at the moment.”