Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster and Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry have met with representatives of JTI Gallaher to discuss the way forward should the company's recent proposal and consultation result in the closure of its Ballymena factory post-2016.
Arlene Foster said: "We are in the unique position of having a considerable period of time to explore every available option to maintain some presence at Lisnafillan.
"Together with my officials in Invest NI, I will explore every option available to the company in terms of, for example, support for R&D, to avoid complete closure of the factory.
"We had a very useful meeting and have identified the issues that would need to be addressed. We understand that the company is undertaking a process of engagement with its employees as part of its overall consultation and we look forward to having further discussions with management early next month."
Dr Stephen Farry said: “The meeting indicated that JTI Gallaher management would commit to working with my Department to explore all options should the consultation result in a factory closure.
“If this situation arises I will investigate all options including opportunities for re-skilling and access to training courses in partnership with the Further Education College network particularly the Northern Regional College.”