Foster announces new jobs for Fermanagh

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced that up to 110 new jobs could be created as a result of expansions by two Fermanagh companies.

Western Brand Poultry (NI), a leading supplier of poultry and egg products to customers in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, is investing £4.4 million to expand production at its Lisnaskea site, creating 60 new jobs over the next three years. Invest Northern Ireland has offered £405,000 of support.

Enniskillen-based Webtech (NI), a market leader in the production of flexible labels for the drinks industry across UK and Ireland, is investing a further £5 million to expand sales to key European markets with the potential for up to 50 new jobs. Invest NI has offered over £626,400 of support, including part funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Making the announcements, Arlene Foster said: “These investments totalling almost £10 million, are welcome news for Fermanagh and the wider food processing and packaging sectors here.

“Western Brand Poultry is an ambitious family-owned business that has chosen to expand at Lisnaskea with support from Invest NI, because of the quality, skills and motivation of the people it has been able to recruit here.

“Food processing is now a key manufacturing sector for Northern Ireland and has tremendous growth potential especially in terms of export sales. Western Brand’s Lisnaskea site has developed an impressive track record in the delivery of consistently high quality products for markets outside Northern Ireland and this investment will accelerate further export growth.”

Eugene Lannon, Western Brand Group Managing Director, said: “We decided to locate this investment at Lisnaskea because the original investment here has proved to be an outstanding success. Indeed, it has exceeded our initial projections.

“To enhance our new product development capability, we are installing an additional production line and other machinery. The investment will also see a substantial increase in marketing activities designed to expand business particularly in Great Britain. We have identified significant growth opportunities from existing and potential customers for the quality products and customer-focused services that underpin our business strategy.”

Commenting on the investment by Webtech NI the Minister 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. Around 95% per cent of its business already comes from customers outside Northern Ireland and this success provides a very strong base upon which to grow sales within other European markets.

“The expansion is a substantial boost as it will provide high quality manufacturing jobs, with a salary well in excess of the Northern Ireland median, in an ambitious and technology-led business which has a very strong commitment to export growth.”

Nigel McSorley, Managing Director of Webtech said: “The new state-of-the-art flexographic presses which we are installing will increase our flexibility and enable us to build on our existing strong reputation for exceptional quality, world-class manufacturing techniques and responsiveness to existing and potential customers in all our markets.

“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. This important investment in innovation, encouraged and assisted by Invest NI, is enabling us to enhance our position in the highly competitive European marketplace,” he added.