A toilet roll manufacturer has unveiled a new £5m machine at its Darwen site.

Jake Berry MP for Rossendale and Darwen, was special guest at the launch and was welcomed by Punjab Paper Converters Director, Mohammed Arshad and General Manager, Stafford Woods at the firm’s plant on Lower Eccleshill Road.

At full capacity, the new Italian made machine can produce 750 pallets – 1.5m rolls in 24 hours. This is up from 150 pallets which the firms other machines can produce in the same period.

Mohammed Arshad said he was delighted to be bringing new opportunities and investment to the region during what had been a testing time for the industry.

“Of course it has been a difficult period for manufacturing as a whole but this is something that help to expand the business as well as bring opportunities to the area.

“I am lucky to be supported by suppliers and customers. They have been backed us for many years.

“I am thankful to the team and the staff here for helping to make this a reality.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Staff and managers at Punjab Papers 

Jake Berry who was visiting the site for the first time on Friday (November 12) said: “It is brilliant to hear of an extraordinary success story. Despite the uncertainty we have had from Covid the business is investing not just in plants and machinery in world beating technology here in Darwen, but in its people as well.

“As a borough we have some of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs and that is something we can be intensely proud of and it makes me hugely optimistic for the future of Blackburn and Darwen.

“It is amazing to hear about a family business that is absolutely committed not just to this town but to supporting jobs.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The machine took 8 months to manufacture and then eight weeks to ship over to the Lower Darwen site from Tuscony.

Piero Ceccon, CEO of Futura whose company built the machine said: “This is the first machine of it’s kind in the UK and it has been wonderful to be working with the team at Punjab Papers.

“When passion meets determination and a sense of respect and responsibility can secure strong partnerships. Like the one we have here with Punjab Papers.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Punjab Papers was established in the mid-eighties as Mohammed Arshad alongside his brothers, Allah Ditta and Mohammed Anwar got into the wholesale business and began selling toilet rolls to local shops. They began manufacturing in 1985.

Keith Kirkham, 84, and his family ran Westbridge Paper Converters during that decade and remembers how Punjab Papers was established.

He was invited to see the new machinery at the launch.

He said: “It is great to be invited and to meet Mr Arshad and his family. Never did I dream that the company would be here so many years later.

“As a company we produced odd ends called 'seconds'. So we ended up supplying these to the family and these were distributed to local Asian shops. How we helped at the time was that we never took money until toilet rolls were sold. So, it assisted with their cash flow.

“It is great to be here and be welcomed to the firm.”

Mohammed Arshad added: “It has been a long journey for the company and this latest investment is the culmination of hard work and determination by all our family.”