First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Peter D. Robinson MLA and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA, officially opened the new £93million Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland manufacturing plant in Lisburn today.
Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland is part of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, the world’s largest producer of Coca-Cola branded beverages with a presence in 28 countries, employing 45,000 people and serving 560 million consumers. In 2005, Invest Northern Ireland announced that it had secured the project with an offer of support totalling £6.75million.
First Minister Peter Robinson said: "In choosing to locate this £93million facility in Northern Ireland, Coca-Cola is making clear its long term commitment to this region. Invest Northern Ireland negotiated for two years to secure this multi-million pound project which has safeguarded almost 400 jobs. This site will now demonstrate internationally the strength of the local food and drink sector and our world class manufacturing capabilities."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "As Coca-Cola’s all-Ireland manufacturing and bottling plant, this state of the art facility now employs in the region of 600 people in a key industry sector, across a range of skilled roles. With the relocation of key operations now complete, all Coca-Cola products sold in Ireland will be made here in Lisburn, a fact which can only continue to deliver long term economic benefits."
Doros Constantiou, CEO of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company said: "The Knockmore Hill facility combines technical innovation, efficiency and environmental sensitivity in a modern comfortable workplace. Its location was chosen because of the established production and operations capabilities in the area, a solid infrastructure and the strong support received from Invest Northern Ireland."
Speaking at the event, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "This facility will deliver a wide range of benefits for the local economy, including sustained employment, adding value to the drinks manufacturing sector and investment in green energy and tourism. Coca-Cola has embraced a green energy ethos and installed a combined heat and power plant on site. Their visitor centre, due to open later this year, will also bring benefits to tourism and the educational sector."