The Regus Group, a multi-national organisation and leading global operator of business centres, is to open the first multi-lingual shared services development in Northern Ireland.

"The Regus Group is to invest £4.4 million and create 295 new jobs in the first inward investment project of its kind in Northern Ireland,” Sir Reg Empey, MLA, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment announced today.

The Shared Services Centre, which will initially be based in the company’s Clarendon Dock premises in Belfast, will provide administrative, accounting and operational support for the Regus network.

Sir Reg said: “This is a strategically important project which will significantly enhance the development of the shared services sector in Northern Ireland and is consistent with my Department’s ongoing strategy of targeting high quality projects in the contact services sector. It will provide hard evidence to other potential investors of the benefits of

locating this type of investment in Northern Ireland. Those benefits include the availability of multi-lingual and professional financial and administrative staff, an attractive support structure and a world-class telecommunications infrastructure.

“This type of knowledge based inward investment strengthens Northern Ireland’s business infrastructure and affords the opportunity for wealth creation through new skills which enhance the capability of our workforce. I know that Regus intends this to be a world-class operation and is planning a significant ongoing training programme in readily transferable skills for its local employees.

“Regus is a dynamic, relatively young company with a global presence and an extension of their operations in Northern Ireland is a welcome development.”

Regus currently has a network of more than 410 business centres in 50 countries, including one in Northern Ireland, which altogether employ over 2,500 people. These centres provide high quality serviced office accommodation, meeting rooms and related support services, such as videoconferencing, telecommunications, Internet connectivity, reception and secretarial services. These provide the flexibility to help companies, both large and small, to relocate to Northern Ireland, without having to make a major capital investment.

Speaking at the announcement of the investment Mr Stephen Jolly, Group Communications Director of Regus, said: “Our goal is to become the leading provider of high quality business services to the global economy. We considered a number of possible locations across Europe for this investment but chose Northern Ireland for the unrivalled availability of well-educated and skilled people, with the motivation and dedication that is vital to the success of this kind of project.

"In reaching our decision to move forward we also took into account Northern Ireland’s state-of-the-art digital communications network, its competitive cost base and its impressive economic support infrastructure.“