Foster announces Kingspan's £47 million phased expansion in Portadown

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced a £47million phased expansion, by Kingspan Renewables Ltd, which aims to create 163 new jobs over the next five years.

Kingspan Renewables designs and produces a range of high-tech products, including solar vacuum tubes, for the global renewable energy sector.

The Minister made the announcement as she officially opened a new advanced manufacturing facility in Portadown today. The facility is part of the major phased investment which commenced in 2009 and is being supported by an offer of £6.5million from Invest Northern Ireland.

With the new facility now operational, the project will create 163 new advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs and safeguard another 152 jobs, over the next five years. It is now one of the world’s most technologically advanced, solar equipment production sites and the vacuum tube produced is one of the highest performing in the marketplace.

Speaking at the opening, the Minister said: “The opening of this new and advanced facility is a significant boost for the local manufacturing sector. Not only does the new facility produce one of the highest performing solar vacuum tubes on the market but the new manufacturing line operates in a very efficient manner. This facility is an example of truly sustainable, high value manufacturing techniques.

“The solar products, now being manufactured in Portadown, are some of the most technologically advanced in the world. This, combined with the new jobs generating more than £5million per year in new salaries, reinforces Kingspan as an important and major contributor to the local economy.

“Last year, Invest NI worked to secure this major investment in the face of a global recession and against competition from other potential locations, including Eastern Europe. Their success in doing so reinforces Northern Ireland’s reputation as a global innovation hub and as a region increasingly focused on developing the capability of its growing renewable sector.

“Building a stronger and more dynamic economy is a key priority for the Northern Ireland Executive, and such investment and commitment from internationally renowned companies like Kingspan Renewables will bring us a step closer to achieving that objective.”

Noel Crowe, Managing Director of Kingspan Renewables and Environmental Division, said: “Today’s event signifies a key milestone for Kingspan as our phased investment plans, supported by Invest NI, come to fruition. As a result of the clear, competitive advantage that this new manufacturing facility provides, we envisage growing our sales four fold over the next five years. This will be supported by further collaborative research and development with the universities and other research establishments.

“We have already increased growth in key renewable energy markets and are confident that, as legislation develops, and demand for innovative and sustainable energy sources continues to increase, Kingspan Renewables will maintain its position as a market leader.”