A MAJOR online retailer could be given a £42 million loan from Warrington Borough Council to help fund a new base on Omega.
The council is investigating the possibility of offering the money to The Hut Group to help them build a new regional distribution centre in the town.
A report heard in private at the last executive board meeting, seen by the Warrington Guardian, says the company has also been offered funding from developers at Manchester Airport’s site offering a loan should they relocate there.
But the council believes that it could match it’s rival’s offer currently on the table, but has no plans to offer any further incentives should an enhanced offer come in from the Manchester Airport bid.
The Northwich-based company runs a variety of websites such as HQhair.com, probikekit.com and myprotein.com selling branded goods predominantly in the lifestyle category.
It also has its own thehut.com website offering a variety of brands.
An initial assessment of the scheme picks out a number of areas of risk with the project including competitive markets and that the company had modest profit levels of £300,000 in 2012/13 after posting a loss of £12.7 million the previous year.
But growth at the business has been increasing with total sales reached £145.3 million in their last financial year - an increase of 30.4 per cent on the previous figures.
Council leader Clr Terry O’Neill (LAB - Burtonwood and Winwick) said: “It’s a company that has expressed interest in going on Omega and we had to put something forward in principle.
“It is not a decision that has been made or we have committed to.”
Other authorities have used council money to help businesses set up in their area.
Council loans come with more favourable terms than available from banks.
And if the move goes ahead the new unit will bring up to 2,000 jobs to the town and increased business rates.
“It could be ensuring investment on Omega and the jobs,” added Clr O’Neill.