Picture by Press Eye Photography
Pictured at the official opening of Munster Simms' new £2 million Technology and Polymer centre in Bangor are from left to right: Patrick Hurst, Munster Simms (Whale); Lady Sylvia Hermon MP; Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI; Mike Mills, Munster Simms and Stanley McFarland, Munster Simms.
Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest Northern Ireland has officially opened a new £2million Technology and Polymer centre for Bangor firm Munster Simms Engineering Ltd (Whale).
The state of the art facility will double the size of the company’s facilities in Northern Ireland and help it to almost double export business over the next three years. Invest NI has offered Munster Simms £750,000 to support the development of the new centre, with Bank of Ireland UK also providing significant funding.
The 200 year old company, which trades under the brand name Whale, specialises in the design and manufacture of heating products, water and waste pumps. With an annual turnover of £15million, it is a global market leader in the leisure marine, recreational vehicle (RV), shower drainage and industrial markets.
Speaking at the event Mr Hamilton said: “Today is a landmark in Munster Simms’ long and successful history. This company has grown significantly in the past 5 years to become a world leader in key global markets but has remained true to its local roots by retaining all aspects of the business in Northern Ireland including research, design, manufacturing, marketing, testing, and most recently software development. I am proud to say that Invest NI has worked closely with Munster Simms for many years on a number of key R&D, skills and job creation projects.
“I believe that the company’s focus on innovation, exports and people development is what has cemented its success over the past 200 years and allowed Munster Simms to sustain growth despite very challenging economic conditions.
“This new facility will play an important part in the future growth of Munster Simms, particularly in terms of product development, and will support the company as it exploits sales in existing and new global markets, including the US where it recently purchased a gas cooker and marine water heater company.”
Patrick Hurst, Managing Director of Munster Simms said: “This year has been a very significant year for the Whale brand given our business acquisition in Los Angeles and the opening of a new additional facility in Bangor which alone represents an investment in excess of £2million. For Munster Simms and the Whale brand, 2012 could be the most significant in terms of future growth since the 1940s.
“Despite the economic downturn, Whale has grown 55 per cent in the past four years, with turnover this year reaching £15million. During the same time, innovation and R&D have been the primary focus for the company with 17 worldwide patents being filed. The business is completely export orientated with almost 100 per cent of all products manufactured in Bangor being sold to the UK, Europe, US and beyond.”
The new centre has increased the scale of the company’s existing sophisticated testing laboratory and now includes a full scale cold test chamber, thermal imaging technology, upgraded wind testing chamber, software development and polymer analysis facilities.
John Mathers, Senior Business Manager, Bank of Ireland UK said: “Bank of Ireland UK is delighted to have supported Whale for many years and to have provided significant support for the new Technology and Polymer Centre and the associated R&D facilities. This will provide a further competitive edge for the business. The success of Whale in both penetrating international markets and delivering product innovation demonstrates the high level skill base that we have in Northern Ireland and proves that the perseverance and determination of our local entrepreneurs and manufacturing sector truly is world class.”