Prestwick setback

US firm Mangata scraps satellite factory plan

Mangata factory
A substantial plant had been proposed

A plan to build a satellite manufacturing site at Prestwick has been abandoned after the US company behind the project said it was no longer affordable.

The £84m scheme proposed by Mangata Networks was expected to create about 575 jobs and further consolidate the Ayrshire region’s reputation in the space sector.

As a a major component within the wider £250m Ayrshire Growth Deal, the news has inevitably been met with disappointment.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mangata Networks said: “Due to challenging global economic conditions, significant increases in material costs and issues with supply chain availability, Mangata Networks, in consultation with Scottish Enterprise, has made the decision to end the new build project for its facility in Scotland.”

The aim of the site was to produce and test more than 24 medium class satellites every three months. An operations centre was part of the plan which was announced in December 2022.

At the time of the announcement, the deputy first minister at the time, John Swinney, said the Mangata deal was a “huge boost for the region and for Scotland as a whole.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Enterprise, which had pledged £54.5m towards the project, said the news today was “disappointing” but its focus was now focused on attracting other companies with similar ambitions for the space sector.

“It’s testament to Scotland’s status as the most attractive location for inward investment in the UK outside of London, and our thriving space sector with a skilled workforce and growing expertise, that we initially attracted Mangata to Scotland against stiff global competition,” said the spokesperson.

“The Prestwick International Aerospace Park site remains an attractive and strategically placed location. We will continue to seek out ambitious companies looking to scale by promoting Scotland’s excellent capabilities in Space and growing reputation for innovation.”

South Ayrshire Council said “it is disappointing for the Ayrshire Growth Deal that Mangata has withdrawn from its plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Prestwick.”

A spokesperson for Mangata said its focus will now shift towards identifying and adapting existing structures “within the region” to meet its manufacturing needs, adding: “Despite this change, Mangata remains committed to maintaining its product Research and Development operations in Scotland. We are also actively considering Scotland as a potential base for our satellite and network operations.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson added: “We are aware that Mangata Networks has withdrawn from its planned project in Ayrshire due to a number of global economic and inflationary pressures.

“This decision should not detract from Scotland’s ongoing success in attracting inward investment as part of a clear and strategic approach to capitalising on our key strengths and potential. We welcome the company’s ongoing commitment to existing operations in the country – and commitment to exploring new opportunities.

“We will continue to work alongside our economic agencies and other partners in a ‘Team Scotland’ approach to attracting inward investment and developing the many economic opportunities to be unlocked – both in the Ayrshire region and across the country.

“We will also work with Ayrshire Growth Deal partners to ensure that Deal money allocated to the project continues to be used to enable the region’s aerospace sector to develop and grow.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “While Mangata Networks’ decision is disappointing, we’re continuing to work with all partners to maximise the benefits of the 10-year Ayrshire Growth Deal which will see more than £250 million invested in Ayrshire’s economy.”

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