Innovative contract for Enniskillen company

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced that Elite Electronics in Enniskillen, is providing electronic units to CERN in Geneva.

CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It will use the electronic units as part of the revolutionary Large Hadron Collider (LHC),.

Speaking during a visit to the company, based at Lackaboy Industrial Estate, Enniskillen, the Minister said: “This is an immensely important contract for the company and for Northern Ireland, because it shows that business here can compete successfully for contracts from one of the world’s most advanced technology-driven programmes.

“Elite has demonstrated that it has the technological capability to win business against major international rivals in knowledge-led industries.

“The contract is a positive outcome of Invest Northern Ireland’s focus on building links with CERN’s procurement team. This process has benefited enormously from the advice and support of Steve Myers, the Northern Ireland-born scientist at the heart of the LHC project, and also from Eleanor Baha from Downpatrick, who is based at the British Consulate in Geneva and has particularly close links with CERN.”

The Minister encouraged other local Northern Ireland companies to seek out business opportunities with CERN.

Arlene Foster said: “CERN has a total budget is in excess of £350million. This offers substantial business opportunities across a range of sectors including supplies and industrial services. The main purchasing areas are in advanced technology, electrical engineering, electronics computer systems, vacuum and low temperature technology and particle detectors.

“Contracts are available in other fields such as mechanical structures, civil engineering, design consultancy, heating and ventilation, maintenance, and all the support services that are involved in running a 600 hectare site.

“I would encourage other suitable local companies to take advantage of forthcoming Invest NI missions to CERN.”

Ronnie Balfour, Managing Director of Elite Electronics, said: “The contract is a substantial endorsement by CERN of our expertise in the development and assembly of electronic systems including highly sophisticated circuit boards for international customers.

“We are providing units for use with the magnets at the core of the accelerator, the repair of which has just been completed following the incident last September which brought LHC operations to a halt.

“We appreciate greatly the support provided by Invest NI that included bringing the CERN team to our plant in Enniskillen and thereby enabling us to show our expertise and manufacturing technology. We followed this up and developed a relationship with key people at CERN that led to the contract being awarded to us. We hope to use this success as a platform to grow our business, over time, in similar knowledge-led businesses.”

Invest NI is currently organising a further visit to Geneva in the autumn.