The line is part of CCEP’s £55 million investment into its Sidcup operations, a demonstration of its ongoing commitment to manufacturing excellence and innovation in Great Britain. The new £16 million production line will be dedicated to making CCEP’s latest light-weight cans ranging from in size from 330ml to 500ml.

After 43 years at CCEP, Sidcup’s longest serving employee, Oliver Fernandes, Lab Analyst, was given the honour to officially open the line with James Brokenshire MP and was then presented with a gift to celebrate his commitment.

In addition to the new production line, the investment supports a brand new £39 million automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) warehouse in Sidcup, saving over ten thousand road miles by HGV trucks and almost four tonnes of CO2 per year. As part of this, CCEP has a dedicated ASRS team on site, consisting of eight existing employees who were all retrained as part of the upskilling programme to see them become part of the ASRS team.

Rory Kerr, operations director at Coca-Cola Sidcup, said: “As a truly local business, we are proud to manufacture some of the nation’s favourite drinks – right here from our factory in Sidcup. This recent investment demonstrates Coca-Cola European Partners’ long-term commitment to the Sidcup area and to manufacturing in GB as a whole.

“Investing in our people is of the upmost importance to us – helping to continually improve the quality, efficiency and sustainability of our operations, as well as ensuring we can continue to support the growth of a team of highly skilled and dedicated people. Investments such as this really help to elevate our business capabilities and support the manufacturing and distribution network in England more broadly.”

Leendert den Hollander, vice-president and general manager, Coca-Cola European Partners GB, said: “At Coca-Cola European Partners, we are passionate about making positive contributions to the communities in which we operate. Sidcup is a great example of the legacy that our local sites can provide our communities while remaining focused on delivering manufacturing excellence throughout our operations in Great Britain.”

MP, James Brokenshire, said: “I welcome Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) commitment to supporting manufacturing in the UK by investing £55 million in its Sidcup operations. This is positive news for the local economy and a further boost for Bexley.”

The investment programme underlines CCEP’s commitment to manufacturing excellence in Great Britain, with a range of innovations in machinery and sustainable production and supports CCEP’s sustainability action plan, This is Forward.”