MORE jobs could be created and existing posts secured at Skipton pram manufacturers Silver Cross after a top Chinese investment group acquired a stake in it.

The Fosun conglomerate is thought to have invested about £50 million in the Broughton estate-based firm, an iconic heritage nursery brand in the UK.

The company was rescued from administration in 2002 by entrepreneur Alan Halsall, whose two sons, Ben and Jonathan, will continue to be involved with Silver Cross, as will current chief executive, Nick Paxton.

The move has been made to take advantage of an expected rise in the birth rate in China, allied to an expansion of the country's middle class, who are acquiring a taste for iconic western brands.

A Silver Cross spokeswoman said: "There are already two Silver Cross stores in China and the brand is very popular, so Fosun is ideally placed to expand this market, which will be good news for jobs in the Skipton area."

Alan Halsall said: “We are delighted with this partnership, which will give Silver Cross the platform to accelerate the company’s international expansion. I believe the future of Silver Cross is in the best possible hands.”