Carpet firm is extending facilities in £35m investment
Ulster Carpets in Portadown has started building a new dyehouse and energy centre - part of a seven-year £35m investment by the firm.
The third-generation family firm is a major supplier of Axminster and Wilton carpets, with exports now accounting for 70% of company sales.
The new dyehouse and energy centre, which is costing £6.5m, will bring new technology to the manufacturing company's processes, ultimately improving capacity by more than 20%.
The energy centre includes a dedicated steam production plant and advanced heat recovery system so that energy supply can match demand and reduce the environmental impact of the company's work.
Chairman Edward Wilson said: "This is the first phase of a major regeneration of all our operation facilities in Portadown."
The company added: "This investment programme and regeneration scheme signifies yet another considerable commitment to continued Northern Ireland manufacturing as the company grows and progresses.
"Ulster Carpets has seen sustained demand for their product around the world and also expansion into new export markets."
Ulster Carpets said the building, which is due to be completed at the end of next year, was being designed and built by firms from the area including MSM Contracts and RMI Architects. Invest NI has also put £950,000 towards the project.
The company is currently re-carpeting the Ritz in Paris and has also secured numerous contracts to furnish hotels in Qatar which are being built ahead of 2022 World Cup.
In its most recent results, the business posted pre-tax profits of £7m, up from £6.5m a year earlier, and turnover of £62.3m, up from £61m.
In the company's results, chairman Edward Wilson said he welcomed this year's Conservative victory in the UK election as ushering in a "business-friendly government".