Ritchey, one of the United Kingdom’s leading manufacturers of livestock care and management products, has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to locate a production operation in Coleraine as part of a growth strategy to expand its business throughout Ireland.
The Yorkshire company has established a manufacturing and distribution plant that is currently employing four people in Coleraine. The Irish market was previously serviced by a sales representative in Scotland and supplied with products manufactured at Ripon in Yorkshire. The company produces animal identification tags and a range of care products.
The £215,000 investment by the company was announced by Tim McMullan, manager of Ritchey (NI), and Kevin Helferty, manager of Invest NI’s North West Local Office (NWLO), which has offices in Londonderry and Coleraine.
Ritchey is currently manufacturing cattle and sheep identification products at Coleraine for clients in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The facility includes a warehouse for the distribution of Ritchey’s range of products throughout Ireland.
Said Mr McMullan: “The company decided to set up this facility to enable us to develop a market that we believe offers substantial growth potential for our complete range of products and services. The combined market for animal tags in Northern Ireland and the Republic is worth around £8 million annually.
“We already have a strong position in Northern Ireland in the supply of tags for cattle and sheep. In the Republic we are a significant supplier of tags for sheep. We see opportunities to grow this business throughout Ireland and also to develop sales of our award winning animal healthcare products. The total market for Ritchey’s range of products in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is around £12 million.
“Setting up in Coleraine will enhance our competitiveness by reducing transport costs and enabling us to respond faster to existing and potential customers. Before choosing Coleraine, we looked at a number of potential locations in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. This location offered us the size of industrial unit that we required and access to a good network of roads, which enables us to supply clients throughout Ireland quickly.
“We’ve recently appointed a sales representative in Cork to cover much of Leinster, Munster and Connacht, while Northern Ireland, Donegal and the border counties of the Republic are serviced from Coleraine,” he added.
Kevin Helferty, NWLO manager, said: “This is an export-led investment that will strengthen the agri-business base in Northern Ireland. Ritchey offers a unique service as the only company on the island that manufactures and laser prints its own animal tags. We are assisting its development through support for its export marketing activities and its management information systems.
“The company, in addition, has an excellent track record in R&D and new product development, and we are keen to encourage the company to develop its manufacturing activities at Coleraine,” he added.
Ritchey is already working with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland in a pilot programme to develop electronic chips for farm animal identification.