Essential Designs opens door to export growth

Essential Designs (NI) Ltd in Portglenone is investing £1.7million to develop sales of a new range of fire doors in Great Britain.  The company is also planning to move to a new and purpose-built 31,000sq ft factory at Creagh Industrial Estate, Toomebridge soon, which is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland.

This planned expansion is expected to create 14 new permanent full time jobs, including 10 highly skilled posts, over the next two years and will bring the company’s total employment to 30.

The investment plan was announced today by Oliver Higgins, Managing Director of Essential Designs (NI) Ltd, and welcomed by Mary Gormley, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office in Londonderry.  Invest NI has assisted the company through a range of programmes including the Business Health check, strategic development, management information systems and consultancy support to include assistance in acquiring ISO 9001-2000 accreditation.

The company has extensive joinery manufacturing experience in areas such as shop-fitting, reception counters, food serving counters and wall panelling.

Outlining the expansion plans, Mr Higgins said: “The decision to diversify into flush fire door sets follows extensive market research that followed the identification of an initial business opportunity highlighted by contacts in Scotland and England.  The fact that we will provide a full fire certificate and labels for the full fire door set will also be a great selling point for the company in these markets.

“It’s a logical extension of our existing and longstanding expertise in a broad range of joinery products for commercial and industrial clients in both the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.  Our projections suggest that the new product could contribute a substantial proportion of the growth in export sales that we expect over the next few years.

“The new factory will provide the additional production capacity that we need to accelerate sales and particularly our exports to our chosen target markets.

“Invest NI’s advice and support has been invaluable in areas such as strategic planning, marketing and technology.  Invest NI has helped us to bring this expansion forward much faster than would otherwise have been possible had it not been so readily available,” he added.

Mrs Gormley said: “This expansion is an important boost for the south Derry area by an ambitious company which is now seeking to achieve faster growth through increased exports from a substantial investment in innovation, its facilities and its people.

“We’ve been working alongside management to advise and support the strategic development of this entrepreneurial business.  This support is in line with the objectives of Invest NI and its work through the North West Action Plan to help accelerate the growth of enterprising local companies which are committed to the development of innovative products and services for markets outside Northern Ireland.

“Essential Designs has identified a new business opportunity and is moving quickly and in a structured way to exploit a gap in the market for its expertise and knowledge,” she added.