Maud’s Ice Cream aims to grow its business outside Northern Ireland by investing in new facilities and technology to increase efficiency and on measures to expand its marketing capability, Leslie Morrison, Invest Northern Ireland Chief Executive, said today.

He announced the new three quarters of a million pound investment, which includes a new purpose-built factory at Carrickfergus, with John Wilson, founder and Managing Director of Maud’s Ice Cream.

Efficiency will be increased and operating costs reduced by the relocation of the company’s manufacturing operation at Gleno, near Larne, and its Antrim-based distribution centre to a single site at Carrickfergus.

The company began production at a new 10,000 sq ft factory at Trooper’s Lane Industrial Estate, Carrickfergus in March this year.

The Invest NI Chief Executive said: “This is an enterprising and profitable company which is now adding substantial value to the business that will enable it to strengthen its production and marketing capabilities and achieve new growth targets by exploiting significant export opportunities that it has identified.

“One of the delights of coming back to Northern Ireland is to discover that we have success stories of enterprise such as Maud’s in traditional sectors.

“The company’s aim of tripling its exports by September 2003 meets a key objective of Invest NI to encourage many more smaller companies to widen their business horizons.

“Maud’s will increase its marketing capability in the Republic of Ireland, its primary export market, through an expansion of its existing presence, which includes around 50 customers, by more efficient distribution and an extension of profile-raising activities,” he added.

Commenting on the expansion, Mr Wilson said: “This investment is a response to the continued high levels of demand for our products in Northern Ireland and to enable us to exploit new business opportunities that we have pinpointed in the Republic.

“To ensure that we can meet the existing and future demand that will result from our new market development strategy we are increasing production and distribution capability and capacity, including a substantial expansion in cold storage facilities, by relocating to a purpose-built factory at Carrickfergus.

“This will enable us to add further value to our product range in terms of quality and variety and to expand existing services to customers.
“We expect our market position and overall growth to be further strengthened by a new product, a 500ml tub, targeted directly at the take- home ice cream sector, now the industry’s fastest growing segment.”