The investment will secure the plant as one of the region’s most important export industries and support a number of highly skilled research and development positions.

The €59m investment includes the upgrade of the current infrastructure and the development of a Panel Products Innovation Centre on the current site of the SmartPly panel board mill at Waterford Port, County Kilkenny.

Interim CEO Gerry Britchfield said “Coillte welcomes the approval by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD and his colleague, Brendan Howlin TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, for the €59m investment in the SmartPly facility. This is a major vote of confidence by the shareholder in the forest services sector and will further embed our in-house innovation capabilities securing the viability of the plant for the future.”

Construction of the new facility will start immediately with contractors due on site during August.

The investment has been a number of years in development with customer needs at the forefront of the decision.

Director of Sales & Marketing Andrew Macdonald said “This will enable SmartPly to enhance its product portfolio through innovation to provide market leading, value added and speciality SmartPly OSB solutions”

Products from the new line are expected to be available towards the end of 2015.

Coillte is a fully integrated forest products company delivering timber from its own forests to SmartPly OSB and Medite MDF thus giving continuous quality and security of future supplies to their customers.