Ibstock has announced a £45 million investment to re-develop and expand its existing brick factory, to be commissioned in 2022.

The investment should enable the Atlas site, in the West Midlands, to deliver 80 million bricks per year.

Commenting on the news, Chief Executive Joe Hudson said: “Within our Clay division, which is operating in a market in which demand for bricks exceeds that available from domestic manufacturing capacity, we have a number of opportunities to enhance capacity in both our wire-cut and soft mud operations.

“To this end, we will initiate construction in 2020 of a new, state-of-the-art 80 million per annum brick factory, at an existing site, which will have an industry leading manufacturing cost and sustainability profile.

“This investment will expand further our capacity against a backdrop of a significant UK housing deficit and robust demand from the new build housing sector over the medium term."

The news came as the company released its financial results for 2019, which saw a 12% drop in pre-tax profit from £93 million to £82 million, on a turnover up by 5% to £409 million.

Hudson explained: “2019 was a year of progress for Ibstock, as we delivered a resilient trading performance against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty. We made good progress against our strategic priorities, including measures to enhance production volumes and quality, the strengthening of our executive team and expanding our Concrete business, through the acquisition of Longley Concrete.

“Fundamentals in the UK remain robust, with a structural housing deficit, low interest rates, high employment and the benefit of the Government’s Help-to-Buy scheme all underpinning the market. However, the political uncertainty which caused more subdued market conditions in the second half of 2019 has meant a slower start to 2020. We anticipate that activity levels will improve as the year progresses, and as a result, expect to deliver a stable outcome for the year.”