Irish meat company Kepak has received funding from the Scottish government and the European Union that has secured the future of a plant in Scotland.

The GBP1.6m (US$2.1m) funding will safeguard 300 jobs and create more than 40 new roles at the meat processing factory in Portlethen, near Aberdeen.

The Scottish element of the funding comes from the Edinburgh government’s Food Processing, Marketing and Cooperation (FPMC) scheme.

The beef and lamb plant was taken over by Kepak Group last August and saw McIntosh Donald rebranded as Kepak McIntosh Donald.

Money is now to be invested to make the factory more efficient and increase its production capacity.

Scotland’s rural affairs minister, Mairi Gougeon, said: “This is great news for the local area, not just to the hundreds of workers and their families who will welcome the job security this provides, but also because the factory plays a vital role in helping farmers get their quality beef and lamb products from farm to fork.”

The FPMC scheme was created to help secure the long-term viability of primary food producers.

In a statement sent to just-food, Kepak said: “Following the approval of the FPMC grant of GBP1.6m and the significant investment from the Kepak Group, we will be able to increase the number of beef cattle and lamb processed in McIntosh Donald.

“It will also be used to aid increase in capacity and efficiencies within the factory. This will secure the future of this business not only for our valued network of local farmers suppliers but nearly 300 full time jobs will be safeguarded, and 40 new jobs will be created in Portlethen.”

Last week it was revealed Kepak is planning to close a plant in Cornwall, in England’s south west, with 150 job losses expected.