A £9.6million expansion by Dungannon firm Westland Horticulture will create 70 new jobs, it has been announced.
The company has built a new fertiliser manufacturing plant at Invest Northern Ireland’s recently developed Dungannon Business Park. Westland is also investing in new machinery and equipment, as well as a training and development programme.
Speaking following a visit to the company’s headquarters, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Johnathan Bell said: “This hugely significant investment by Westland Horticulture cements the company’s commitment to Northern Ireland and to its Dungannon-based workforce.
“The new fertiliser manufacturing plant will enable Westland to position itself as the leader in a very dynamic and fast moving sector. The 70 new jobs will provide a substantial boost to Dungannon and wider Tyrone area, contributing £2.1million annually to the local economy.
“Westland has multiple locations across the UK and, as a result of Invest NI support, this project is not only creating new jobs but also safeguarding the employment of the existing workforce.
“The investment in skills will also enhance the company’s productivity and overall competitiveness as it seeks to accelerate its European sales. Westland’s investment to develop the capabilities of its workforce will not only support them in their current roles but enhance overall employability for the future.”
Invest NI has offered the company £1.5million of support, including £669,729 through its Skills Growth Programme.
Joint Managing Directors Edward Conroy and Robert Lavery purchased the additional land from Invest NI to build their new plant and employed local architects and builders in its construction.
Mr Conroy, commenting on the expansion, said: “This is an immensely important strategic investment that will enable us to grow our market share in the consumer lawn care market and control our innovation pipeline.
“The new and very sophisticated plant enables us to bring the manufacture of some fertilisers in-house. It will enable us to respond faster to market opportunities in Britain, Ireland and other European markets that we have identified as offering significant growth potential in both short and medium terms.
“We already have a presence in both the German and Polish markets and intend to focus further resources on both and other neighbouring regions.
“The investment we are making in skills will also support the export drive by increasing the efficiency and flexibility of our people.”
Formed in 1988, Westland Horticulture currently employs 238 people at Dungannon. The company also has three production plants in Britain, one in Germany and a sales office in Poland.
The 70 new jobs will be created over the next three years, bringing employment at the Dungannon site to 308 by 2016. Approximately 30 of the 70 new jobs are already in place.