“AnswerCall Direct (ACD) of Portadown is investing £7.3 million in a new purpose-built contact centre at Edenaveys, Armagh to meet a growing demand for its expertise in telesales, telemarketing and customer services,” Ian Pearson, MP, the Northern Ireland Office Minister with responsibility for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, announced today.

The Minister announced the Invest NI-backed investment with Kelsey Buck, ACD’s Managing Director. The investment by this locally-owned company involves the implementation of new technology and is expected to provide over 400 new jobs at the Armagh centre by 2006.

The company will also continue to provide contact services to customers from its existing centres in Portadown, which together currently employ around 300 people. The company includes BT among its portfolio of clients.

Welcoming the company’s expansion, Ian Pearson said: “ACD is a first class example of an entrepreneurial company which is experiencing fast growth in the intensely competitive contact centre marketplace through an ongoing commitment to excellence in the services it provides to customers. This expansion is a significant investment by the company in its continued growth.

“It will also strengthen the skills base in Armagh by providing opportunities to local people to gain experience and expertise in customer focused telemarketing services,” he added.

Through its Principles for Business Support, Mr Pearson said Invest NI had assisted ACD to develop a business solution customised to its growth objectives.

Commenting on the expansion, Ms Buck said: “This investment is part of a strategy to position the company as one of the leading outsource contact centres in the United Kingdom.

“We aim to achieve this by investing in the latest telecommunications technology and leading industry customer relationship management systems. This will enable us to deliver a consistently high quality service that adds significant value to the operations of our customers.

“The new centre is an impressive facility for customers that will enable us to be more competitive in bidding for contracts from bigger clients. Another extremely important aspect of the investment is the attractive working environment it provides for our staff,” she added.

Ms Buck said the company had decided to locate the new contact centre at Edenaveys following extensive research that indicated that this area offered the best potential in terms of the availability of suitable employees.