The project, which includes the development of a new Coillte Panel Products innovation centre, will create over 300 jobs during construction, and will secure the plant as one of the biggest exporters in the southeast of Ireland.

"The wood panel industry has a valuable role to play in Ireland’s export industry and this investment in both manufacturing and research and development will secure Coillte Panel Products as a major player in the European Panel products sector well into the future," said Irish minister of state Tom Hayes.

SmartPly currently employs over 160 people directly at the Kilkenny plant and 250 indirectly in the wider area. In 2014 SmartPly had total sales of approx 300,000m3, of which more than 90% were exported.