N.Ireland's £10m boost for food processing and packaging

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United kingdom

Plans to invest almost £10m in Northern Ireland’s food processing and packaging sectors have been announced.

Western Brand Poultry said it is to invest £4.4 million to expand production at its site in Lisnaskea, Fermanagh. The company supplies poultry and egg products to Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Regional economic development agency Invest Northern Ireland pledged to add a further £405,000 to the initiative which will create 60 new jobs by the end of 2012.

The company plans to install a new production line and other machinery as well as implementing a substantial increase in marketing activities to expand business -particularly in Great Britain.

“The investment will increase the number of production lines at the plant from two to three,”​ a Western Brand spokesman told FoodProductionDaily.com. “This will add about 60 per cent to our capacity, with output rising by around 40-50 tonnes a week."

He added: “Growth opportunities have arisen because some competitors have changed strategy and focused more on retail, whereas we are focusing on the food service sector. We are also benefitting because chicken is a recession product and at present there is extra demand in the market.”

Flexible labels

Webtech NI, which manufactures flexible labels for the drinks industry in the UK and Ireland, is investing £5m in a push to expand sales to key European markets. The move, which could create up to 50 new jobs in the Enniskillen-based firm, will involve investing in new flexographic presses. Invest NI has offered funding of £626,000 to back the project, which includes cash from the European Regional Development Fund.

Nigel McSorley, managing director of Webtech said the new equipment would help the company enhance the quality of its product and its ability to respond to customer needs.

“Extensive market research has enabled us to identify significant opportunities particularly in mainland Europe for highly innovative plastic packaging products developed in partnership with Exxon Mobil, a major supplier of raw materials,”​ he added.

The investment announcement was made this week by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment.

Minister Arlene Foster said: “Webtech NI already supplies customers in highly competitive markets such as Germany, France and Sweden and is investing in the latest labelling technology that will strengthen its overall competitiveness.”

She added that around 95 per cent of Webtech’s business already comes from customers outside Northern Ireland, which provided a very strong base to boost sales across Europe.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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