A business tycoon will create more than 100 jobs after buying the former Pinneys of Scotland factory.

Keshav Bhagat has revealed plans to invest £9m in the shutdown fish processing plant site in Annan - backed by £1.7m from the Scottish government.

Details of the deal have been revealed today - and hailed as a major boost for the town, which was devastated when when 450 jobs were lost as Young’s closed the Stapleton Road factory last year despite vigorous protests.

Mr Bhagat plans to have his food firm - specialising in coatings for poultry and food products - in operation by the autumn.

An initial 120 jobs will be created, but with the prospects of more in future.

Bhagat Holdings Limited already has supply contracts across the UK and Europe.

The Scottish government is supporting the firm in expanding its European operations through a Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance Grant.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s rural economy secretary, said: “This is great news for the people of Annan.

“I’m delighted that an international company like Bhagat Holdings has chosen to invest in Scotland, with the immediate creation of a significant number of jobs, which will make a real difference to local people and the economy.

“When Young’s closed last summer, I said that we would leave no stone unturned and we would keep working to find a solution and an alternative use for this site. That hard work has now paid off and it is Annan and the community and families who will

benefit. I want to highlight the diligent efforts of Scottish Government staff, working with Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Enterprise, the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, and local partners for the past year, to make this happen.

“Today’s announcement sends a strong message that Scotland remains open for business, and that we are determined to work collaboratively at a national and local level to secure investment and jobs for the people of Scotland.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Elaine Murray added: “I am very pleased with this announcement and hope it signals an upturn in the region’s economy following the closure of Pinneys last year.

“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work behind the scenes, both with prospective investors and to ensure those affected by the closure were supported into alternative employment. Some employees may return to the site, but this could also mean new jobs.

“We welcome Bhagat Holdings to our region and wish them well in the future.”

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell hailed the announcement as a double boost for the Borderlands, coming just days after the UK and Scottish governments announced a £345m funding package to help build the region for the future.

He said: “The reopening of the former Pinneys factory and creation of 120 jobs is very welcome news for Annan and the surrounding area.

“Pinneys’ closure last year hit hard. I saw first-hand the tremendous efforts partners, workers and the whole community made to try and save the site.”

One of Pinneys’ major contracts - with Marks & Spencer - went to 2 Sisters Food Group’s Cavaghan & Gray factory in Carlisle, leading to new jobs and a major investment programme there.