A PIZZA manufacturer has announced big expansion plans which will create 50 jobs.

Stateside Foods, in Westhoughton, will expand into a neighbouring factory which is currently occupied by the Dabs.com National Logistics Centre.

The firm, which employs up to 600 people, has agreed to buy the building next to its factory, in Great Bank Road, on Wingates Industrial Park. The factory will become Stateside’s new distribution centre.

Stateside, part of the Freiberger Group, has enjoyed significant investment and growth since it was launched 20 years ago.

It supplies fresh pizza to major retailers, including Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s Managing director Jon Lucas said the latest investment was part of a plan to develop the business even further.

He added: “Stateside Foods can continue to progress, ahead of the growth of the chilled pizza market, while creating 50 jobs for the local people.

“This is an exciting development for Stateside Foods, and its future.”

The purchase will take place in May, and it is planned that the distribution centre will be ready for use in September this year.

Dabs.com became one of the UK’s largest online electronics retailers after it was founded by David Atherton and Bruce Smith in 1987.

After the duo went their separate ways, Mr Atherton became the company’s sole owner, before it was bought by BT Group in 2006 for an estimated £30 million, making him one of the UK’s first dot.com millionaires. The company is based at Enterprise Park, in Horwich.